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2B0ofe ^0.431 A-C> 





From a medallion in th'e British Museum attributed to the 

Italian artist Gentile Bellini, who was invited by Mahomet to 

Constantinople, in 1480, and painted a portrait of him. 

The portrait is in the Layard Collection. 






Author of "The Partitions of Poland," "Peel and O'Connell, 
" Gladstone and Ireland " 




{All rights reserved) 



The favour with which, two years ag^o, my book on The 
Partitions of Poland was received by the public has induced 
m^ to devote the interval to a study of the history of another 
State which, in modern times, has almost disappeared from 
th^ map of Europe — ^namely Turkey. 

The subject is one in which I have for many years past 
taken great interest. In the course of a long life, I have 
witnessed the greater part of the events which have resulted 
in the loss to that State of all its Christian provinces in 
Europe and all its Moslem provinces in Africa, leaving 
to it only its capital and a small part of Thrace in Europe, 
and its still wide possessions in Asia. 

So long ago, also, as in 1855 and 1857, I spent some time 
at Constantinople and travelled in Bulgaria and Greece, and 
was able to appreciate the effects of Turkish rule. As a 
result, I :gave a full support, in 1876, to Mr. Gladstone in 
his efforts to secure the independence of Bulgaria, and in 
1879 was an active member of a committee, presided over 
by Lord Rosebery, which had for its object the extension 
of the kingdom of Greece so as to include the provinces 
inhabited by Greeks still sufferings imder Turkish rule. 

In 1887 and 1890 I a^ain visited the East and travelled 
over the same ground as thirty years earlier, and was able 
to observe the immense improvements which had been 
effected in the provinces that had gained independence, 
and how little change had taken place at Constantinople. 

In view of these experiences and of the further great 
changes portended in Turkey after the conclusion of the 

5 ^3/'94^ 


present great war, I have thought it nmy be of use to, tell, 
in a compact and popular form, the' story of the girowth' and 
decay of the Turkish Empire. 

History may wfeU be told at m^ny different lengths and 
from different points of view. That of the Ottoman Emipire, 
from the accession of Othtnan in 1288 to the treaty of 
Kainardji in 1774, which secured to Russia a virtual 
protectorate in favour of the Christian subjects of Turkey, 
has been told at its greatest length by the German professor. 
Von Hammer, in eighteen volumes. He is the only historian 
who has explored for this long period both Greek and 
Turkish annals. 

The British historian, KnoUes, writing in 1610, told 
the story of the gtowth of the Turkish Empire in two 
bulky folio volumes, much admired by twio such different 
authorities as Dr. Johnson and Lord Byron. The wjork is 
based on a few only of the Greek annals. It is very 
discursive and imperfect, but it contains many most terse 
and striking passages. Gibbon, the historian of the Roman 
Empire, and Sir Edwin Pears, in his ni^st interesting' b^k 
on the Destruction of the Greek Empire, have also relied 
on Greek authorities up to the capture of Constantinople 
by the Turks in 1453, before which d^te there were no 
Turkish historians. Very recently, in 191 6, Mr. Herbert 
Gibbons, of the Princeton University, published a very 
valuable work on the foundations of the Ottoman Empire, 
dealing with its first four great Sultans. He has ^gain 
examined with very great care the numeriDus and con- 
flicting early Greek aaithiorities, and hjas thrown much new 
light on the subject. 

Other historians of Turkey, wlritin'gj in; English and 
French, such as Creasy, Lane Ppole, La Jonqui^re, lapd 
Halil Ganem (a Young Turk), h^ve drawn their facts 
mainly from Von Hammer's 'gte^t work. Their bbpks are 
all of interest and value. But these wjriters, and especially 
Sir Edward Creasy, in his otheitwise admirable Histpry of 
the Ottoman Empire^ wl-itten at the time of the Crimean 


War, to w^hich I have been much indebted, took what 
would now be considered too favourable a view of Turkish 
rule in modern times, and wer^ over sanguine, as events 
have shown, as to the maintenance and regeneration of the 
Empire. I have followed their example in basing* my 
narrative mainly on Von Hammer^s work, correcting it in 
some important respects from the other sources I have 
named, compressing it into much smaller compass than 
they have done, treating it from a som;ewhlat .different 
point of view, and bringing it down to the commencemqnt 
of the present great war in 1 9 14. 

It would have been easier to tell the story at double the 
length, so as to include much other important and interest- 
ing matter, but, in such case, the lesson to be drawn from 
it would have been obscured by the maze of detail. M^ 
book does not aim at a fuU history of the longf period dealt 
with. I have proposed only to explain the process by 
which the Turkish Empire was aggregated by its first ten 
great Sultans, and has since been, in great part, dis* 
membered under their twenty-five degenerate successors, 
and to assign causes for these two great historic move- 

I wiU only add that I commenced my recent studies 
under the impressions derived in part from some of the 
histories to which I have referred and with which I was 
famiHar, and in part from the common tradition in Western 
Europe— dating probably from the time of the Crusaders 
— that the Turkish invasions and conquests in Europe were 
impelled by religious zeal and fervour and by the desire to 
spread Islam. I have ended them with the conviction that 
there was no missionary zeal whatever for Islam in the 
Turkish armies and their leaders who invaded Europe, and 
that their main incentive was the hope of plunder by the sack 
of cities, the sale of captives as slaves or for harems, and 
the confiscation of land and its distribution among" soldiers 
as a reward for bravery. I have also concluded that the 
decay of the miUtary spirit and the shrinkag'e of Empire 


was largely due to the absence of these motives and rewards 
when the Turks were on the defensive. 

If I have expressed my views freely on this subject, and 
on the misrule of the Turks in modern times, I have 
endeavoured to state the facts on which they are based with 
perfect fairness as between the Crescent and the Cross. 

I have purposely refrained from expressing an opinion 
as to the future of Turkey, after the conclusion of the exist- 
ing great war. The problems which will then have to be 
solved are of a different order to those of the past which 
have been dealt with in this book. The Turkish Empire, 
in the sense of the rule of an alien race over subject races, 
has practically ceased to exist in Europe. It survives in 
Asia and at its capital, Constantinople, under very different 

With respect to the numerous works I have consulted 
for the latter part of my book, I desire specially to acknow- 
ledge my indebtedness to Mr. Lane Poole's admirable Life 
of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. 

I have to thank Lord Bryce, Lord Fitzmaurice, and Sir 
Edwin Pears for their valuable suggestions, and Lady Byles 
and Mr. Laurence Chubb for their kind help. 

June 1, 1917. 




I. OTHMAN (1288-I326) 

II. ORCHAN (1326-59) . """^^ 

III. MURAD I (1359-89) 

IV. BAYEZID I (1389-I403) . 
V. MAHOMET I (1413-21) . 

VI. MURAD II (142 1-5 1) H-^ 


VIII. BAYEZID II (1481-I512) . 

IX. SELIM I (1512-20) 











XII. THE RULE OF SULTANAS (1578-1656) . 








XIX. MAHMOUD II (1808-39) . 
XXI. ABDUL HAMID II (1876-1909) . 

INDEX ...... 










ENTRY OF THE OTTOMANS IN 1353 . Facing page ^1 


EXTENT ..... Facing page 148 


Facing page 369 





Towards the middle of the thirteenth century a small 
band or tribe of nomad Turks migrated from Khorassan, 
in Central Asia, into Asia Minor. They were part of a 
much larger body, variously estimated at from two to four 
thousand horsemen, who, with their famiUes, had fled from 
their homes in Khorassan under Solyman Shah. They 
had been driven thence by an invading horde of Mongols 
from farther east. They hoped to find asylum in Asia 
Minor. They crossed into Armenia and spent some years 
in the neighbourhood of Erzeroum, plundering the natives 
there. When the wave of Mongols had spent its force, 
they proposed to return to Khorassan. On reaching the 
Euphrates River Solyman, when trying, on horseback, to 
find a ford, was carried away by the current and drowned. 
This was reckoned as a bad omen by many of his followers. 
Two of his jsons, with a majority Of them, either returned 
to Central Asia or dispersed on the way there. 

Two other sons, Ertoghrul and Dundar, with four hundred 
and twenty families, retraced their course, and after spending 
siome time again near Erzeroum_, wajideried westward into Asia 
Minor. They came into a country inhabited by a kindred 
race. Successive waves of Turks from the same district in 
Central Asia, in the course of the three previous centuries, 
had made their way into A ^' " "* aor, and had taken forcible 
possession of the greater part of it. They formed there 
an Empire, known as that of the Seljukian Turks, with 
Konia, the ancient Iconium, as its capital. But this Empire, 
by the middle of the thirteenth century, was in a decadent 
condition. It was eventually broken up, in part, by assaults 
of a fresh swarm of invaders froni Central Asia ; and in 



part by internal civil strife, fomented by family disputes of 

When Ertoghrul's band appeared on the scene, Sultan 
Alaeddin ruled at Konia over what remained to him of 
the Seljukian State. Other remnants of it survived under 
independent Emirs at Karamania, Sarukhan, Mentsche, and 
numerous other smaller States . Between them they possessed 
nearly the whole of Asia Minor, with the exception of a 
few cities in its north-west, such as Brusa, Nicaea, and 
Nicomedia and the districts round them, and a belt of 
territory along the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmora, and 
the Hellespont, to which the Byzantine Emperors, formerly 
the owners of nearly the whole of Anatolia, were now 
reduced. Two small Christian States also still existed there 
— ^Trebizond, in the north-east, and Little Armenia, in 
Cilicia, in the south-east. Though divided among mlany 
independent Emirs, the people of Asia Minor, with 
the exception of the Greeks and Armenians, wtere fairly 
welded together. The invading Turks had intermixed with' 
the native population, imposing on them the Turkish' 
language, and had themselves adopted the religion of 
Islam. Ertoghrul and his nomad tribe, before entering 
this country, were not Moslems, but they were not strangers 
in language. Whatever their religion, it was held lightly. 
They were converted to Islam after a short stay in the 
country and, as is often the case with neophytes, became 
ardent professors of their new faith. 

The oft -told story of the first exploit of ErtoghM ajid 
his four hundtdd and twenty horsemen, on coming into th^ 
country of the Seljuks, as handed down by tradition, though 
savouring somewhat of a myth, is as follows : They 
came unexpectedly upon a battle in which one side was 
much pressed. They knew nothing of the combatants. 
Ertoghrul spoke to his followers : ** Friends, we come 
straight on a battle. We carry swords at our side. To 
flee like women and resume our journey is not manly. 
We must help one of the two. Shall we aid those who 
are winning or those who are losing ? " Then they said 
unto him : " It will be difficult to aid the losers . Our 
people are weak in number and the victors are strong ! ** 
Ertoghrul replied : ** This is not the speech of bold men. 
The manly part is to aid the vanquished.'* Thereupon 
the whole body of them fell upon the Mongols, who were 


the winning side, and drove them into flight. The side 
to which they brought aid and victory proved to be that 
of Sultan Alaeddin of Konia. In return for this provi- 
dential aid, Sultan Alaeddin made a grant of territory to 
Ertoghrul to be held as a fief under the Seljuks. It con- 
sisted of a district at Sugiit, about sixty miles south-east of 
Brusa, and a part of the mountain range to the west of it. . 

Ertoghrul and his horsemen were a welcome support to 
Alaeddin's waning* fortunes. In a later encounter with a 
smaU Byzantine force they came off victorious, and Alaeddin 
made a further addition to their territory on the borders 
of his own, over which he had a very nominal sovereignty. 
Thenceforth Ertoghrul lived an uneventful pastoral life as 
the head of his clan or tribe of Turks in the ceded 
territory, tiU his death in 1288, nearly fifty years from 
the date of his leaving Khorassan. His son, Othman, who 
was born at Sugut in 1258, was chosen by the clan to 
succeed him, and soon comtnenced a much more ,ambitious 
career than that of his father. When of the age of only 
sixteen he had fallen in love with the beautiful daughter 
of Sheik Idebali, a holy man of great repute in Karamania. 
It is evidence of the small account then held of Ertoghrul 
and his son that the Sheik did not think the marriage 
good enough for his daughter. It was only after a long 
and patient wooing by Othmkn, and as the result of a 
dreant, which foretold a great future of empire for his 
progeny, that Idebali gave consent to the m;arriage. 

There were no contemporary Turkish histories of the 
early Ottoman Sultans. It was not till many years after 
the capture of Constantinople in 1453 that Turkish 
historians wrote about the birth of their State. They had 
to rely upon traditions, which must be accepted with much 
reserve. This, however, is certain, that Othman, in his 
thirty -eight years of leadership, increased his dominion 
from its very narrow limits at Sugut and Eski-Sheir to 
a territory extending thence northward to the Bosphorus 
and Black Sea, a distance of about a hundred and twenty 
miles by an average breadth of sixty miles, an area of 
about seven thousand square miles. There are no means 
of estimating its population . It was probably sparse, except 
on the coast of the Marmora and Black Sea. It included 
only one important city, Brusa, which was surrendered by 
its garrison and citizens shortly before the death of Othman 


in 1326, after being hemmed in and cut off from corrt- 
munication with Constantinople for many years. Consider- 
able as these additions were, the nascent State could 
not even yet be considered as important in size. It was 
exceeded by several of the larger Turkish Emirates in 
Asia Minor, such as Karamania, Sarukhian, and others. 

It is notable that Othman, from the outset of his career, 
devoted his efforts, not against the Turkish Moslem States 
lying to the south and west of him, but against the territory 
to the north in possession of the Byzantine Empire, or 
which had recently been more or less emancipated from 
it, and inhabited chiefly by Christians. It is to be inferred 
from this that the motive of Othman was partly a religious 
one, to extend Islam. This was not effected by any sigtial 
victories over the armies of the Greek Em'pire. There 
was only one recorded battle against any army of the 
Emperor, that at Baphceon, near Nicomedia, where Othman, 
who by this time reckoned four thousand horsemen among 
his followers, defeated the inconsiderable body of two 
thousand Byzantine troops. In the following! year, 1302, 
the Greek Emperor, Michael Palseologus, alarmed at the 
progress of Othman, crossed in person into Asia Minor 
at the head of a small army of mercenary Slavs. But 
he brought no money with him to pay his soldiers. They 
would not fight without pay. They dispersed, and Michael 
was obliged to return to his capital. This was his last 
attempt to defend his remaining territory in that district. 
He was hard pressed in other directions by other Turkish 
Emirs in Asia Minor, and in the first decade of the four- 
teenth century the Greek Empire lost all its possessions 
in the islands of the ^gean Sea. 

The extensions of territory by Othman, during' his long 
reign of thirty -eigh't years, were effected by a slow process 
of attrition, by capturing from time to time petty fortresses 
and castles and annexing the districts round them. He 
acted in this respect, in the earlier stages, as fief of the 
Seljuk State ; but later, when that Empire came to an 
end, Othman declared his independence, and thenceforth 
his accretions of territory were on his own behalf. It 
would seem that, as these additions were niade, their popu- 
lations, or the greater part of them who were Christians, 
adopted Islam, not under compulsion — for there is no record 
of the massacre ^f captives or of the sale of then^ as slave? 


— but because they were abandoned by their natural pro- 
tectors, the Greeks of Constantinople. The important fact, 
clearly shown by Mr. Gibbons in his recent work, is that 
the new State thus created by Othman did not consist 
purely of Turks. It had a very large mixture of Greeks 
and Slavs, who were welded with Tm-ks by the religion 
of Islam. They were, from an early period, very distinct 
from the people of other Turkish States. They called 
themselves Osmanlis. The term * Turk ' was used by them 
rather as a term of contempt for an inferior people, as 
compared with themselves. It was only in later years, when 
the other Turkish States of Asia Minor were incorporated 
in the Empire, that the term * Turk ' was applied to its 
people, in the first instance by outsiders, and eventually 
by themselves. 

To Othman, therefore, is due the credit of this inception 
of a new State and a new and distinct people. He did 
not, however, assume the title of Sultan. He was simply 
an Emir, like so many other rulers of petty States in 
Asia Minor. He was not a great general. He had no 
opportunity of conducting a great campaign. He was a 
brave soldier and a sagacious leader, who inspired confi- 
dence and trust in his followers and subjects. He pursued 
with great persistency the poHcy of enlarging his domain. 
He was also a wise and capable administrator, and was 
assisted in this by his father-in-law, Idebali, who acted 
as his Vizier. He meted out equal justice to all his subjects, 
irrespective of race and religion. He was simple and 
unostentatious in his habits. There is no record of his 
having more than one wife or more than two sons. He did 
not amass wealth. He divided the loot of war equally 
among his soldiers, setting apart a portion for the poor 
and orphans. 

Othman had a vein of cruelty in his character, as had 
so many of his descendants, the Ottoman Sultans. When, 
on one occasion, he propounded to his war council a scheme 
of further aggression on his neighbours, his uncle, Dundar, 
a nonogenarian, who had been companion in arms to 
Ertoghrul, ventured to raise objection to the policy of 
further extension. Othman, instead of arguing the question 
with him, took [up his cross-bow and shot his uncle dead 
on the spot, and in this way closured the discussion and 
put down, at the outset, opposition in the council. 



Von Hammer, in relating this story, says : — 

This murder of the uncle marks with terror the commenceliient of 
the Ottoman dominion, as the brother's murder did that of Rome, 
only the former rests on better historical evidence. Idris (the Turkish 
historian), who, at the beginning of his work, declares that, passing over 
in silence all that is reprehensible, he will only hand down to posterity 
the glorious deeds of the royal race of Othman, relates, among the 
latter, the murder of Dundar. If then such a murderous slaughter of a 
relative be reckoned by the panegyrists of the Osmanlis among their 
praiseworthy acts, what are we to think of those which cannot be praised 
and of which their history therefore is silent ? * 

We must judge of Othman, however, not by the standard 
of the present time, but by that of his contemporaries. By 
that standard he was reckoned a humane and merciful 
sovereign. This view is expressed in the prayer which 
has been used in the religious ceremony, on the accession 
of every one of his successors to the throne, when he is 
girt with the double-edged sword of the founder of the 
Empire, " May he be as good as Othman." 

In his old age, when Othman was incapable of taking 
the field himself, his son, Orchan, took his place as the 
leader of the army, and just before the death of Othman 
Brusa surrendered to him. It was then, as now, one of 
the most important cities in Asia Minor. 

When Othman was on his deathbed, after a reign of 
thirty -eight years, his ,son Orchan, in terms of affection 
and lamentation, addressed (him : " Oh, Othman ! Thou 
fountain of Emperors, Lord of the World, Thou conqueror 
and subduer of Nations." The dying king replied: — 

Lament not, oh my sons : delight ! for this my last conflict is the lot 
of all human kind, common to young and old, who equally breathe the 
air of this mahgnant world. Whilst I now pass to immortality, live thou 
glorious, prosperous, and happy. Since I have thee for successor, I have 
no cause to grieve at my departure. I will give thee my last instructions, 
to which be attentive. Bury the cares of life in oblivion. I conjure thee, 
crowned with felicity, lean not to tyranny, nor so much as look towards 
cruelty. On the contrary, cultivate justice and thereby embellish the earth. 
Rejoice my departed soul with a beautiful series of victories, and when 
thou art become conqueror of the world, propagate religion by thy arms. 
Promote the learned to honour, so the divine law shall be established, and 
in what place soever thou hearest a learned man, let honour, magnificence, 

' Von Hammer, i. p. 28 (French translation). 


and clemency attend him. Glory not in thy armies, nor pride thyself in 
thy riches. Keep near thy person the learned in the law, and, as justice is 
the support of kingdoms, turn from everything repugnant thereto. The 
Divine law is our sole arm, and our progress is only in the paths of the 
Lord. Embark not in vain undertakings or fruitless contentions. For it 
is not our ambition to enjoy the empire of the world, but the propagation 
of the faith was my peculiar desire, which therefore it becomes thee to 
accomplish. Study to be impartially gracious to all, and take care to 
discharge the public duties of thy office, for a king not distinguished by 
goodness belies the name of a king. Let the protection of thy subjects 
be thy constant study, so shalt thou find favour and protection from 

It is probable that much of this was the invention pi 
some historian, writing many years later. It may be taken, 
however, as a summary, based on tradition, of the prin- 
ciples which had actuated the dying chief during his long 

Othman died shortly after receiving the welcome news 
of the surrender lof Brusa, and by his last wish was buried 
there. He was the progenitor of a royal race who, for nine 
more generations, continued the career of conquest which 
he inaugurated, till the Empire, in the middle of the six- 
teenth century, two hundred and seventy -eight years from 
the accession of Othman, under Solyman the Magnificent, the 
greatest of his race, reached its zenith. It was only after ten 
generations of great Sultans that the race seemed to be 
exhausted, and thenceforth, with rare exceptions, produced 
none but degenerates down to the present time. 

' Cantemir, p. 20. 



OthMAN, on his deathbed, desigttiated as his successor 
the younger of his two sons, Orchan, aged forty -two, who 
had been brought up as a soldier under his father's 
eye, and had shown capacity in many campaigns, and 
especially in that resulting in the surrender of Brusa. 
Alaeddin, the elder brother, was not a soldier. He had 
led a studious life, devoted to religion and law, both 
founded on the Koran, under the guidance of Idebali. 

The Turkish historians agree in stating that Orchan was 
most unwilling to act on his father's wishes and take 
precedence over his elder brother, and that he proposed 
to divide the heritage of state between them, but that 
Alaeddin declined the loffer. Orchan is then reported to 
hav<^ said : " Since, my brother, thou wilt not take the 
flocks and herds which I offer thee, be the shepherd of 
my people. Be [my Vizier." Alaeddin agreed to this, 
and devoted himself to the administration of the growing 
State and to the organization of the army, under the rule 
of his brother. I 

* Mr. Gibbons refuses credence to this interesting story on the ground 
mainly of its inherent improbability. His argument does not convince 
mc. The succession of the younger brother to the Emirate without a 
fight for it, on the part of the elder one, was an event so remarkable, and 
so contrary to all experience in Ottoman history, as to make the explana- 
tion given a reasonable one. The probabilities seem to me to be all in 
its favour. Alaeddin died in 1337. It is admitted that for seven years he 
acted as the first Grand Vizier of the Ottoman State. It may well be, 
therefore, that he commenced, if he did not complete, the important 
organization of the army with which he has been credited by Turkish 


Orchan followed closely the example of his father. He 
pursued the same method of slow, but sure and persistent, 
aggrandizement of his State. It will be seen that he suc- 
ceeded in adding to it a territory nearly three times greater 
than that which he inherited. Two -thirds of this were in the 
north-west comer of Asia Minor, along the shore of the 
Marmora and the Dardanelles, and the remaining third in 
Europe, where he was the first to make a lodgment for the 
Ottomans. He made Brusa his capital, and there, after 
a time, he assumed the title of Sultan. He coined money 
with the inscription, " May God cause to endure the Empire 
of Orchan, son of Othman." The phrase must be taken 
rather as a measure of his ambition than as a descrip- 
tion of his existing State, for it was then inferior in size 
to several of the Turkish Emirates in Asia Minor and 
to most of the Balkan States. Orchan led a most active 
and simple life. He was always on the move. When 
not in the field with his troops, he spent his time in 
visiting his many petty strongholds, seldom remaining more 
than a month in any one of them. 

The immediate objects of Orchan's ambition, on his 
accession, were the Greek cities of Nicaea and Nicomcdia, 
with their surrounding districts, the last important posses- 
sions of the Byzantine Empire in Asia. Nicasa was then a 
great city. It had attained greater importance during the 
sixty, years when the Latins were in occupation of Constanti- 
nople and the Greek Emperors were relegated to Asia 
and made it their capital. It was well fortified. It could 
only be captured, ;as Brusa had been, by cutting off its 
communications with Constantinople, and depriving its 
people of the means of subsistence. The Greek Emperor, 
Andronicus III, made an effort to relieve it. He hastily 
raised an army of mercenaries, in 1326, and led them 
across the Bosphorus. He fought a battle against Orchan 
at Pelecanon, on the north shore of the Gulf of Nico media. 
According to the Greek historians, the Ottomans had much 
the worst of it, losing a great number of men, while the 
losses of the Greeks were trivial. However that may have^ 
been, Andronicus decided on a retreat. But a scrimmage, 
occurred in the night between his bodyguard and the enemy, 
in which the Emperor himself was slightly wounded. He 
thereupon fled precipitately, and was conveyed in a litter 
to the Bosphorus and thence to Constantinople. His armv. 


dispirited by this abandonment by their Emperor, was 
defeated and dispersed. As a result, Nicasa surrendered 
in the following year, 1327, on favourable terms. The 
majority of its garrison and citizens followed the example 
of those of Brusa and adopted Islam. Very few availed 
themselves of the loffer to transfer themselves to Europe. 
This ill-starred campaign and cowardly flight of Andro- 
nicus was the last effort of the Byzantine Emperors to save 
their possessions in Asia. What remained of them, chiefly 
the city of Nicomedia, were left to their own resources, 
without further aid from Europe. Nicomedia was well 
fortified and was apparently a tough job for the Ottomans, 
for it held out till 1337, or possibly 1338, and eventually 
surrendered in the same way, and on the same terms, as 
Brusa and Nicaea. 

In the interval of ten years between the capture of 
Nicaea and Nicomedia, Orchan was further engaged in ex- 
tending his State elsewhere in Asia, not towards Angora, 
in the south, as stated by some historians, but to the north- 
west, in the ancient Mysia, by the conquest of the Emirate 
of Karasi, which lay immediately to the north of Sarukhan 
and with a frontage to the sea opposite to the island of 
Mytilene. The Emir of this State died in 1333. His 
two sons disputed the succession. The younger one was 
favoured by the Ottomans, and when he was put to death 
by his brother, Orchan sent an army ostensibly to 
avenge him. The jEmir was driven into exile and his 
State was promptly annexed by Orchan. The same fate 
befell some other petty Emirates on the southern borders 
of the Marmora and the Hellespont, rounding off the 
boundary of the Ottoman State in the north-west corner 
of Anatolia. The population of Karasi and the smaller 
States was mainly Turkish, but there must have been many 
Greeks on the coast who probably adopted Islam, as had 
the majority of the Greeks of Brusa and Nicaea. After 
these acquisitions, and that of Nicomedia in 1338, there 
were no further additions to the Ottoman State in Asia 
Minor during Orchan's reign. 

There followed, after the capture of Nicomedia, a few 
years of peace, and it may well be that, during this time, 
Orchan completed the scheme for the organization of his 
State and his army. Hitherto, when Othman and Orchan 
were involved in disputes with their nei^hboiirs^ and it 


was necessary to use armed force in resistance or attack, 
an appeal was made for the voluntary service of all the 
male members of their petty State or clan capable of bearing 
arms ; and the appeal was responded to without question. 
When the occasion for their service was at an end, the 
warriors returned to their homes and to their usual voca- 
tions. With a rapidly expanding territory and with great 
ambitions for further conquests, it was evidently thought 
necessary to constitute a permanent and well-disciplined 
force, and Orchan, whether adopting, or not, the plans of 
his brother Alaeddin, determined to effect this. On the 
one hand, hje enrolled a considerable body of infantry for 
continuous service. They were subject to strict discipline 
and were well paid, and it will be seen that they could 
be sent beyond the realm to assist the Greek Emperor 
or otherwise.! On the other hand, a large body of horse- 
men was provided, not under continuous service, but under 
obligatory service, when occasion arose for calUng them out. 

For this purpose the country districts were divided into 
fiefs, the holders of which were bound to serve in the 
event of war, and to come provided with horses and equip- 
ment, or to find substitutes in proportion to the extent of 
their fiefs. It was, in fact, the adoption of the feudal 
system, then almost universal in Europe, with this marked 
difference, that the fiefs were small in extent and were 
not, as a rule, hereditary. They were given for life as 
rewards for military service, and on the death of their 
holders were granted to other soldiers, though in some cases 
hereditary claims were recognized. When new territories 
were acquired by conquest from non -Moslems, large parts 
of them were divided into new fiefs, and were granted to 
the soldiers who had distinguished themselves in the war. 
Military service, whether in the new infantry or in the 
feudal cavalry, was strictly confined to Moslems. Christians, 
who were thus exempted from military duty, were subjected 
to a heavy capitation tax from which Moslems were free. 

This new organization of the army, comknenced by 
Orchan and extended and perfected by his son Murad, 
who also, it will be seen, created the famous corps of 
Janissaries, converted the nascent Ottoman State into a 
most powerful engine for war, and gave an immense 

* This was not the corps of Janissaries, which, as Mr. Gibbons has shown^ 
was created ,not by Orchan but by his son Murad. 


impetus to the conquest of non -Moslem countries. Most 
splendid rewards were held out to the Moslem soldiers for 
victory and bravery. In the event of victory they benefited 
not only from the ordinary booty in money and chattels, 
on the sack of cities and the pillage of country districts. 
They also received as their share four -fifths of the proceeds 
of the sale of captives as slaves, the other fifth being 
reserved as the share of the Sultan. The captives were 
not only the enemies' soldiers taken in battle, but in many 
cases the inhabitants of the conquered districts . The strong 
and the young of both sexes were carried off and were 
sold, the men as slaves, the fairer women for wives or 
concubines, or for harems. The soldiers further received, as 
has been shown above, a large share of the confiscated lands 
to be held as military fiefs in reward for bravery in battle. 
As these fiefs were granted for life only, there was a 
further distribution among the soldiers of the fiefs held 
by their comrades who were killed in battle, and often, 
it is said, the same fiefs changed hands many times in 
the course of a campaign. 

The Moslem inhabitants of a conquered territory were 
not sold oft" as slaves, nor were their lands confiscated. 
These measures were reserved for Christians or non- 
Moslems. In some cases the Christians were given the 
option of embracing Islam in order to avoid slavery and 
the confiscation of their land. But these exceptions were 
rare in the conquests in Europe, and it is obvious that, to 
whatever extent they took place, the rewards obtained by 
the soldiers were reduced. 

It has been shown that hitherto in the Ottoman conquests 
in Asia Minor at the expense of the Byzantine Empire 
a great proportion of the Christian population embraced 
Islam ; and it may well have been that the spread of 
Islam and the conversion of infidels to the true faith were 
in part the incentives for the expansion of the Ottoman 
Empire. But henceforth, after the organization of the army 
by Orchan and Murad and the great rewards held lOut 
to the soldiers for the conquest of non -Moslem territories, 
it does not appear that the Ottoman armies were inspired 
by any missionary zeal for the spread of Islam'. The main, 
if not the sole motives, were loot and plunder, the sale of 
captives as slaves, and the confiscation of land and its 
distribution among the soldiers as fiefs -^ and these objects 


were attained to a far gir eater extent by the invasion of 
Christian States in Europe than by the extension of the 
Empire over Moslem countries in Asia. 

In the year 1354 Orchan, after completing the organiza- 
tion of his army, turned his attention for the first time to 
Europe. Thenceforth, till his death in 1359, his restless 
ambition was directed against the Byzantine Empire. 
Advancing age prevented his taking the field himself at 
the head of his army. But his eldest son, Solyman, who 
had all the great qualities of his race, and who was the 
idol of the army, took his place in command of the 
invading* forces. 

It may be well to point out here that, at this time, 
the middle of the fourteenth century, the Byzantine Em'pire 
was already reduced to very insignificant proportions, com- 
pared to its ancient grandeur. The territories subject to it, 
which for centuries had extended to the Danube in Europe, 
and in Asia over Anatolia and Syria, had been already 
greatly diminished when the leaders of the fourth Crusade, 
in 1204, in one of the most disgraceful episodes in 
history, turned aside from their avowed object of attack- 
ing the Moslems in Palestine and, in lieu thereof, attacked 
and captured Constantinople, and compelled the Byzantine 
Emperor to transfer the seat of his government to Nicaea, 
in Asia Minor. There followed the brief period of the 
Latin Empire. But in 1261 the Byzantine Greeks re- 
conquered Constantinople, and the ephemeral Latin Empire 
disappeared from history. The Byzantines were then able 
to recover a small part only of their old dominions in 
Europe and Asia. At the time when Orchan, who had 
driven them from Asia, decided to attack them in Europe, 
they held there no more than Thrace with Adrianople, a 
part of Macedonia with Salonika, and the greater part of 
the Morea in Greece. To the north of them Serbia, imder 
Stephen Dushan, the most eminent of its rulers, had asserted 
supremacy over the greater half of the Balkan poiinsula, 
was threatening Salonika, and had ambition to possess him* 
self of Constantinople. Bulgaria, thougii it had lost territory 
to Serbia, still possessed the smaller half of the Balkans. 
The Republics of Venice and Genoa owned many com- 
mercial ports and islands in the ^gean Sea and Adriatic, 
and were madly jealous of one another. The position was 
such as to afford a. favourable oppoatunity to new invaders 


like the Ottomans, for there was no probability of a com- 
bination among these Christian commtinities to resist them. 

The story of the first entry of the Ottomans into Europe, 
as told by the early Turkish historians and adopted by 
Von Hammer and others, is shortly this. In the year 
1356 Solyman, the son of Orchan, at the head of a small 
body of Ottoman troops, variously estimiated at from 
seventy -five to three hundred, under the inspiration of a 
dream, stealthily crept, it is said, across the Hellespont in 
boats, and succeeded in surprising and overcoming the 
Greek garrison of the small fortress of Tzym^pe, on the 
European side of the Straits, and having thus gained posses- 
sion of it, increased the invading force to three thousand. 
Mr ^^jQibbaus, on the other hand, has unravelled from the 
Byzantine historians a much fuller and more reliable story 
of the successive entries !of Ottoman troops into Europe 
from 1345 downwards. It may be briefly epitomized as 
follows, in explanation of the great historic event — the first 
entry of the Ottomans into Europe — a story which is most 
discreditable to the Byzantine Greeks : — 

On the death, in 1338, of the Greek Emperor Andro- 
nicus III, the most feeble and incompetent of the long 
line of Palasiologi, his Grand Chancellor, Cantacuzene, was 
appointed, under his will, gliardian of his son, John Palaso- 
logus, and as go -regent with his widow, the Empress Anna. 
Cantacuzene, not satisfied with this arrangement, and 
ambitious to secure supreme powier in the Empire, had 
himself proclaimed Emperor at Nicotika in 1343. This 
was bitterly resented and opposed by the Empress Anna. 
Civil war broke out. Both Anna and Cantacuzene appealed 
to Orchan, their new and powerful neighbour across the 
Straits, for aid against the other. Cantacuzene offered 
hi5 young daughter, Theodora, in marriage to Orchan in 
return for the aid of six thousand Ottoman troops. Orchan 
apparently thought this a better offer than that of the 
Empress Anna, whatever that may have been. He was 
perhaps flattered by the prospect of a family connection 
with a Byzantine Emperor. He closed with the offer and 
sent six thousand soldiers into Europe, in 1345, in support 
of Cantacuzene, who made use of them by investing Con- 
stantinople, of which the Empress had obtained possession. 
After a year's siege, Cantacuzene effected an entry into 
the city by the aid of his partisans thei^e^ who tre,achef ouslyj 


opened its gates to him. The Empress was thereupon 
compelled to come to terms. She agreed that Cantacuzene 
and his wife should be crowned as Emperor and PZmpress, 
together with herself and her son. This union was further 
cemented by the marriage of the young Emperor John, 
at the age of sixteen, with another daughter of Cantacuzene. 
Orchan, in pursuance of his agreement with the new 
Emperor, was married in 1346 at the ripe age of sixty-two 
to the young Theodora, who was to be allowed to remain 
a Christian. 

It may be assumed that the six thousand soldiers lent 
to Cantacuzene returned to Asia. But the loan of them 
soon became a precedent for other transactions of the 
sam.e kind. In 1349 the Serbians, under Stephen Dushan, 
were seriously threatening Salonika, and had ultimate 
designs on Constantinople itself. Orchan was again 
appealed to for aid by the two Emperors, his father-in- 
law and brother-in-law, and at their instance he sent twenty 
thousand soldiers into Europe for the relief of ^Salonika. 
With their aid Cantacuzene was able to defeat the Serbians, 
and to extinguish for ever their hope of replacing the 
Byzantine Empire at Constantinople. On this occasion, 
again, it appears that the Ottoman troops, having effected 
their purpose, returned to Asia. But four years later 
another opportunity befell Orchan of sending troops across 
the Straits, and this time of effecting a permanent lodg- 
ment in Europe. Cantacuzene, not satisfied with being 
only a co -Emperor with his son-in-law and the Empress 
Anna, attempted, in 1353, to usurp the supreme power in 
the State. His son-in-law, John Palasologus, now of full 
age, strongly opposed this. Civil war again broke out. 
For a third time Cantacuzene appealed to his son-in-law 
Orchan for aid. In return for the loan of twenty thousand 
soldiers he offered to hand over to the Ottomans a fortress 
on the European side of the Hellespont. Orchan agreed 
to this. The Ottoman soldiers were sent into Europe, 
under Solyman, and were employed by Cantacuzene in 
fighting against his other son-in-law, the co-Emperor John. 
They were successful in this, and occupied Demotika. 
Meanwhile the insignificant fortress of Tzympe was handed 
over to Orchan and was occupied by Ottoman troops with 
the full consent of Cantacuzene. 

Shortly after this an earthquake occurred in tfet. 


Thracian Chersonese — not an unfrequent event there. It 
did great damage to many cities, among others to Gallipoli, 
the most important fortress on the European side of the 
Hellespont, and at no great distance from Tzympe. Its 
walls and ramparts were in great part tumbled down and 
destroyed, so that entrance to it was made easy. The 
Ottoman troops at the neighbouring Tzym'pe, under Soly- 
man, when this opportunity was afiforded to them of 
getting possession of such an important fortress, deter- 
mined to avail themselves of it. The Greek garrison of 
Gallipoli, under the belief that the earthquake and the 
tumbling down of the walls indicated the Divine will, made 
no resistance, and the Ottomans established themselves there 
without opposition. Cantacuzene complained of this to 
Orchan as a gross breach of their treaty, and demanded 
that Gallipoli should be restored to him. He offered also 
to pay a fair price for Tzympe. Orchan, though willing 
enough to take money for Tzympe, refused point-blank to 
give up Gallipoli. *' God," he said, *' having inanifested 
His will in my favour by causing the ramparts to fall, 
my troops have taken possession of the city, penetrated 
with thanks to Allah." It will be seen that Greeks and 
Turks took the same view* of the Divine intervention, the 
one to excuse their failure to defend the fortress, the other 
to justify their seizure of it. 

This action of Orchan roused great indignation at Con- 
stantinople. Cantacuzene now began to see how grave 
an error he had committed when inviting the Turks into 
Europe. Public opinion compelled him to declare war 
against Orchan. He appealed to the Czars of Serbia and 
Bulgaria to assist him in driving the Ottomans back to 
Asia. They flatly refused to do so. The Czar of Bulgaria 
repHed : ** Three years ago I remonstrated with you for 
your unholy alliance with the Turks. Now that the storm 
has burst, let the Byzantines weather it. If the Turks come 
against me we shall know how to defend ourselves " — a 
very Unfortunate prediction as events ultimately proved 1 
The whole course of history might have been altered if 
these two Balkan States had joined with the Byzantines in 
preventing this lodgment of the Turks in Europe. Want 
of union of the Christian Powers was then, as on many 
other later occasions, mainly responsible for the extension 
of . the, Qttonian Emt^ire in th-at continent. 

ORCttAN 29 

Cantacuzene v/as soon to reap the just reward for his 
treachery to his country. So far everything had gone 
well with him. He had ousted the Palasologi from ithe 
throne, of which, it must be admitted, they wiere .quite 
unworthy. He had proclaimed his son Matthew as co- 
Emperor with himself. But when the full effect of his 
policy of inviting the Turks into Europe was under- 
stood there was a revulsion of feeliag against him at 
Constantinople. The Greek Patriarch refused to crown 
Matthew. A revolution took place in the city. Cantacuzene 
found himself without friends. He was everywhere accused 
of having betrayed the Empire to the Turks. He iwas 
compelled to abdicate. He blecame a monk and retired 
to a monastery in Greece. He spent the remainiag thirty 
years of his life in seclusion there, and in writing a history 
of his times, which, though very unreliable, tells enough 
of his own misdeeds to justify the conclusion that, by 
inviting the Ottomans into Europe, he proved to be a 
traitor to his country. The Empress Irene, his wife, 
became a nun. 

John Palseologus was recalled by the people of Con- 
stantinople, and, after defeating Matthew, not without 
difficulty, was established there as sole Emperor. His 
reign lasted for fifty years, a period full of misfortune 
for the Empire. He was no more able to compel or 
induce the Turks to evacuate Europe and return to 
Asia than his father-in-law. The twenty thousand soldiers 
who had been invited to Europe by Cantacuzene remained 
there as enemies of the State they had ooime to assist. 
Under the command of Solyman, they advanced into 
Thrace and captured Tchorlu, within a few miles of Con- 
stantinople. Though the occupation of this city and of 
Demotika was only temporary, the Ottomans firmly estab- 
Hshed themselves in the southern part of Thrace. The 
Emperor John was eventually compelled to sign a treaty 
with Orchan, which recognized these Ottoman conquests 
in Thrace. Thenceforth the Byzantine Empire became sub- 
servient to, and almost the vassal of, the Ottoman Sultan. 
Solyman brought over from Asia many colonies of Turks 
and settled them in the Thracian Chersonese and other parts 
of Thrace. 

In 1358 Solyman, who had shown great capacity when 
in command of the Ottoman army, met with his death 


by a fall from his horse when engaged in his favourite 
sport lof falconry. His father, Orchan, died in the folloiw- 
ing year at the age of seventy -two. He had enorniou,sly 
increased the Ottoman dominions. He had achieved the 
first great object of his ambitiO;n, that of driving the 
Byzantines from their remaining possessions in Asia. He 
had rounded off his boundaries in the north-west corner 
of Anatolia by annexing Mysia. He had invaded Europe 
and had extended Ottoman rule over a part of Thrace. 
He had reduced the Byzantine Emperor al'most to vassalage. 
These great results had been achieved not so much by 
force of arms as a general, for he is not credited with 
any great victory in the field, or by successful assaults 
on any great fortresses, as by crafty diplomacy and 
intrigue, backed up by superior force, and by taking 
advantage of the feebleness and treachery of the Byzan- 
tines. He also forged the military weapon by which 
his son, Murad, was able to effect far greater territorial 
conquests, both in Europe and Asia. 



Stdnfbrd's GeoglEstdJb%ZandDn. 




MuRAD succeeded his father, Orchan, at the age of forty'. 
He soon proved himself to he eminently qualified to rule 
by his v^^' ig activity and vigour, his genius for war, 
and sane statesmanship. He was illiterate. 
.; even sign his name. There is extant in 
ti. " "\e city of Ragusa a treaty with its petty 

republic, wnici. lurad, in 1363, signed by dipping his 
ha * nk and impressing it with his finger .marks. 
Thv. a ' thus formed becam,e the official signature 

of subsequent Sultans of Turkey. Osman and Orchan 
between them created the Ottoman dynasty and State, 
but Murad must be credited with having founded the 
Empire in the sense of imposing Ottoman rule on subject 

On Murad's accession his territory, though greatly in- 
creased by Orchan, was less in extent than some other 
Turkish Emirates in Anatolia. It consisted of an area 
on. both sides of the Sea of Marmora, two hundred miles 
in length by about one hundred in depth. It included 
both shores of the Dardanelles, b'u,t only one side of the 
Bosphorus. Constantinople, on the other side, though 
nearly hemmed in by the Ottomans, was nominally inde- 
pendent, and its communications with the Greek province 
of Thrace were still open. Deducting the area of the 
Sea of ' .rmora, the territory under Murad's rule was not 
of greater area than twenty thousand square miles. Its 
population probably did not amount to a million in 
number. It is difficult to understand how Murad from 
this small territory so enormously increased his Empire 
in Europe. It may be surmised that la,rge numbers of 



Turks from other parts of Anatolia flocked to his standard 
in search of adventure and booty in Europe. 

The ownership of both sides of the Dardanelles did 
not, in days before the invention of guppo wider, give com- 
mand of the Straits, and as Murad was without a navy, 
the passage of his armies between Asia and Europe was 
at the mercy of any naval Power. The Genoese, who 
had important conimercial settlements on the shores of 
the Black Sea and on the Bosphorus at Galata, and iwho 
maintained a large naval force in the ^gean Sea, might 
easily have barred the way of the Ottomans to Europe, 
but they hated the Greeks and were g'reedy of money, 
and they could be relied on to convey Murad's armies 
across the Straits for a full consideration. It will be seen 
that Murad, during his reign of thirty years, increased 
by more than fivefold the Ottoman possessions, and at 
one point brought them up to the Danube. He compelled 
other States also, including the Greek Empire itself, to 
accept the position of tributaries to his Empire. His fame 
in Ottoman history must be regarded as on a level with 
that of Mahomet, the Conqueror of Constantinople, ;and 
of Solyman the Magnificent, who raised the Empire to 
its zenith. 

Murad's great extensions of his Empire may more con- 
veniently, than in a chronological order, be treated under 
three distinct heads : — 

I . His conquest of the possessions of the Greek Empire 
in Thrace and Bulgaria and the -reduction of that deca- 
dent Empire to the humiliating position of vassalage. 

2. His great conquests in Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Serbia. 

3. His extensions in Anatolia by the absorption of Turkish 
Emirates or parts of them. 

I. The Conquests in Thrace. 

The Greek Empire, under John Palaeologus V, the most 
unfortunate and incompetent of men, on the accession of 
Murad, was in a perilous and decadent condition. We 
have already shown how small were its remiaining posses- 
sions in Europe. It had no friends on whom it could rely 
to stem the advance of the Moslems. The old spirit of 
the early Crusaders in Europe was almost extract. There 
was bitter feud between the Latin and Greek Churches. 


They hated one another more than they feared the Turks. 
It was a condition of any assistance of the Latin Christians 
that the Greeks should come into the fold of the Pope 
of Rome. The Greeks, on their part, flatly refused .this, 
even for the purpose of saving their Empire from extinc- 
tion by the Moslem Turks. 

It was under these conditions that Murad, in the first 
year of his reign, determined to follow up the designs of 
his father by conquests in Europe. Leaving Brusa, the 
then capital of his State, he crossed the Dardanelles, and 
at the head of a great army marched into Thrace. His 
generals, Evrenos and Lalashalin, commanded the two wings 
of it. Evrenos advanced on the left, recaptured the fortress 
of Tchorlu, five miles from Constantinople, massacred its 
garrison, and razed its walls. Lalashalin, on the right, 
captured Kirk Kilisse, and thus protected the army from 
a possible landing of the enemy from! the Black Sea. 
Murad then advanced with the centre of his army, formed 
a junction with the two wings, and fought a great battle 
at Eski Baba, in 1363, in which he completely defeated 
the Byzantine army opposed to him, with the result that 
Adrianople surrendered without a struggle and almost the 
whole of Thrace fell into Murad's hands. Lalashalin then 
advanced up the Maritza Valley into Bulgaria and captured 
Philippopolis, a Byzantine possession south of the Balkans. 

As a result of this successful invasion the Greek Emperor 
found himself compelled to enter into a treaty with Murad, 
by which he bound himself to refrain from any attempt 
to recover what he had lost in Thrace, to abstain from 
giving aid to the Serbians and Bulgarians in resisting a 
further advance of the Ottomans in Europe, and to support 
Murad against his Anatolian enemies, the Turkish Emirs. 
Murad thereupon returned to Brusa to cogitate over new 
enterprises and to organize his forces. He was soon re- 
called to Europe by most serious events. The Christian 
Powers had shown no disposition to help the Greeks against 
the Ottoman invasion, while their possessions in Asia and 
Europe were being invaded, but the advance into Bulgaria 
seems to have caused alarm to them. Pope Urban V 
stirred up Louis, the King of Himgary, and the Princes 
of Serbia, Bosnia, and Wallachia to resist. They combined 
together and sent an army of twenty thousand men into 
Thrace, with the avowed object of driving the Turks 



out of Europe. Murad hastened to confront them, but 
before he could arrive on the scene of action his general, 
Lalashalin, led an army against the allies. The two armies 
met on the River Maritza, not far from Adrianople, in 
1363. Ilbeki, in command of the Ottomans, made a sudden 
night attack, when the Christian troops were heavy with 
sleep after a festive revel. A stampede took place. The 
Turkish historian says of the allied army : ** They were 
caught even as wild beasts in their lair. They were driven 
as flames are driven before the wind, till, plunging into the 
Maritza, they perished in its waters." 

The Christian army was practically exterminated. The 
King of Hungary escaped by a miracle. It was the first 
conflict of the Ottomans with the Hungarians, who were 
destined to bar the way into Europe for a hundred and 
fifty years. As a result of this battle all the country south 
of the Balkan Mountains was incorporated in the Ottoman 
Empire. Ilbeki, who devised the night attack, and so 
successfully carried it out, wa3 made away with by, poison, 
at the instance of Lalashalin, who was madly jealous of 
his great victory. 

The battle of the Maritza was a crushing blow to the 
Christians. One result of it was that Murad decided in 
favour of a scheme of conquest in Europe rather than 
in Asia. In this view he transferred the seat of his govern- 
ment from Brusa to Thrace, and made Demotika the capital 
of his Empire. Three years later he transferred it to 
Adrianople, which for ninety years, till after the capture 
of Constantinople, held this position, and from thence he 
organized his great invasion of the Balkan States. Another 
result was that the Greek Emperor, John Palaeologus V, was 
forced into a further step towards subjection to the 
Ottomans. He agreed to become a trib'utary to the Sultan 
and to send a contingent to the Ottoman army in 
future wars. 

After a time the Emperor fretted under this position of 
vassalage, and in 1369 he went on a mission to Rome, in 
the hope of inducing the Pope to stir up the Christian 
Powers of Europe to another crusade against the Ottomans. 
He left his eldest son, Andronicus, in charge of the govern- 
ment at Constantinople during his absence. Arriving at 
Rome, he submitted to the most humiliating conditions with 
the object of gaining the support of the Pope Urban V. He 


abjured at St. Peter's, before the High Altar, the prin- 
ciples of the Greek Church, so far as they differed from 
those of Rome. He admitted the ecclesiastical supremacy 
of the Pope. He was then permitted to bend his knee, 
and to kiss the Pope's feet and hands. He was prrivileged 
also to lead the Pope's mule by the bridle. He obtained, 
however, no return for these abject humiliations. The 
Pope was unable to induce the Christian Powers again to 
take up arms against the Ottomans. 

The Emperor's concessions to the Pope were also dis- 
avowed by the Hierarchs of the Greek Church at Con- 
stantinople. There never was any prospect of a reunion 
of the two Churches. The Emperor, John Palaeologus, 
embarked on his homeward journey having! nothing to show 
for his pains. On his way back, when passing through 
Venice, he was arrested, at the instance of his Venetian 
creditors, who had lent him money to defray the cost of 
his mission. Not having the means to pay, he could not 
discharge the legal process. Andronicus had no wish that 
his father should ever return to Constantinople. He made 
no effort to raise money for the release of the Emperor. 
He pleaded the poverty of the Treasury. A younger son, 
Manuel, however, with more filial piety, raised the neces- 
sary sum, by selling all his property, and obtained the 
release of his father. Shortly after his return to Con- 
stantinople the Emperor, as was to be expected, deprived 
Andronicus of all his appointments, and replaced him 
by Manuel, whom he also made co -Emperor with 

The son of Andronicus, of the same name, furious at 
this treatment of his father, entered into a mad conspiracy 
with Saoudji, the youngest son of Sultan Murad, with the 
object of dethroning both Emperor and Sultan and reigning 
in their place. Saoudji, being in command of the Sultan's 
army in Europe, during the absence of Murad in Asia, was 
able to tamper with the loyalty of the Ottomian troops. 
He assembled a considerable force in the neig^hbour- 
hood of Constantinople, where he was joined by a 
large number of the sons of Greek nobles and by many 

Murad, when he heard, at Brusa, of this mad outbreak, 
returned with all haste to Europe, and organized resistance 
to it, in concert with the Greek Emperor. They agreed 


that the two rebels, when captured, should be deprived 
of their eyesight. Murad thereupon, taking what soldiers 
he could get together, marched to meet Saoudji's army. 
When within hearing of it, he called out to the soldiers 
by night, urging them to return to their duty and promising 
pardon to them. The soldiers, hearing the voice of the 
Sultan, who had so often led them to victory, ;repented 
of their treachery and deserted the cause which they had 
so foolishly taken up. Saoudji and Andronicus and the 
band of Greek nobles, thus deserted by the rajik and' file 
of the army, took refuge in the fortress of Demotika. 
Murad had no difficulty in capturing this place, and with 
it the two rebel princes and the Greek nobles. In 
pursuance of his agreement with the Emperor, he then 
deprived his own son of his eyesight and, going beyond 
his promise, had the young man executed. He caused 
the Greek nobles to be bound, two and three together, 
and thrown into the Maritza, while he stood on the bank 
and revelled in the sight of their drowning struggles. In 
some cases he insisted on parents themselves putting 
their sons to death in his presence. When they refused, 
the parents were drowned in the river together with their 
sons. In this instance Murad showed that he had in him 
the vein of cruelty which was conspicuous, more or less, 
in all the descendants of Othman. Andronicus was handed 
over to the Greek Emperor, who partially, but not com- 
pletely, carried out his promise of depriving his grandson 
of eyesight. 

As a result of these events, the Emperor John 
Palseologus found himself compelled to enter into another 
treaty with Murad, by which, in order *' that he might 
enjoy up to the end of his life in peace his last posses- 
sion," he recognized himself as vassal of the Sultan, 
promised to do military service in the Ottoman army, 
and gave his son Manuel in charge of Murad as a hostage. 

2. The Conquests in Macedonia, Bulgaria, and 


The conquest of Thrace by the Ottomans and the defeat 
of the allied Christians at the Maritza were as great blows 
to the Bulgarians as to the Greek Empire, though they 
had given no assistance to the allies. The occupation of 


Adrianople and PhilippopoKs opened the way to a further 
advance into Bulgaria and Macedonia. It was not, how- 
ever, till 1366 that Murad availed himself of this advantage, 
and commenced the series of attacks which ultimately made 
him master of Macedonia and of a great part of Bulgaria 
and Serbia. The position of affairs in the peninsula at this 
time was very favourable to him. The Bulgarians, Serbians, 
Bosnians, and Greeks were madly jealous of one another ; 
each of them preferred the extension of the Ottoman rule 
to that of their rivals. Bulgaria alone, if united, might 
have successfully resisted Murad. But in 1365 its Czar, 
Alexander, died, and his kingdom was divided between 
his three sons. Sis man, the elder, got the largest share. 
The other two gave no assistance to their brother 
when the Ottomans invaded his coimtry. Between 1366 
and 1369, Murad advanced into Bulgaria, and took posses- 
sion of the Maritza Valley, as far as the Rhodope Mountains. 
In 1 37 1 Lalashalin encountered an army of Bulgarians 
and Serbians at Samakof, not far from the city of Sofia, 
and completely defeated it, with the result that Bulgaria, 
up to the Balkan range, was annexed to the Ottoman 
Empire. It remained so for over five hundred years, till 
its release in our own times. 

After this great victory at Samakof, Lalashalin was 
instructed by Murad not to pursue his conquest of Bulgaria 
north of the Balkan range, but to proceed westward, and, in 
concert with Evrenos, to invade Macedonia as far as the 
River Vardar. This occupied the two generals in the years 
1 37 1 -2. Kavalla, Druma, and Serres fell into their hands. 
In 1372 they crossed the Vardar River and penetrated 
into Old Serbia, Albania, and Bosnia. The main part 
of Serbia, however, remained in the hands of Lazar, 
its prince. But he was compelled to acknowledge the 
suzerainty of the Sultan. As regards the part of Bulgaria 
not annexed, its prince, Sisman, was allowed to retain his 
independence. His daughter entered the harem of Murad, 
with the understanding that she was not to be compelled 
to adopt the Moslem religion. It was not till 1381 that 
a further advance was made by Murad. He then sent his 
armies across the Vardar River and captured Monastir. He 
also took possession of Sofia, and in 1386 of Nisch, after a 
fierce struggle with the Serbians. 


3. MuRAD's Acquisitions in Asia Minor. 

Between the years 1376 and 1380 Murad found himself 
able to turn his attention in the direction of Asia Minor. 
In the first of these years he induced the Emir of Kermia, 
doubtless by threats of war, to give a daughter in marriage 
to Bayezid, his eldest son. She brought with her as dowry 
a considerable part of Kermia and the fortress of Kutayia, 
a position of great strategic importance. In 1377 he 
followed this up by inducing the Emir of Hamid to sell 
a great portion of his Emirate lying betw^een Tekke, Kermia, 
and Karamania, including the district of Ak-Sheir. The 
effect of this acquisition was to make his frontier conter- 
minous with that of Karamania. Again, in 1378, he 
declared war against the Emir of Tekke, and annexed 
a part of his territory, leaving to him AdalLa. 

Murad made no further effort to extend his dominion in 
Asia till 1387, when he led a large army against Alaeddin, 
the Emir of Karamania. For this purpose he called upon 
the Greek Emperor and the Princes of Serbia and Bulgaria 
as vassals of the Empire to send their contingents. His 
two sons, Bayezid and Yacoub, commanded the wings of 
this army. With a view to conciliate the peasantry of 
the district he passed through, and to ensure full supplies 
of food to his army, he gave strict orders that there 
was to be no pillage, and that the lives and property of 
the country people wiere to be respected. Among his troops 
were two thousand Serbians, whom the Prince of Serbia 
was bound by his recent treaty to supply. These men 
refused to obey Murad 's order, and committed atrocious 
depredations on the route of the army. Murad inflicted 
severe punishment on them, and directed many of them 
to be put to death as a warning to the others. The army 
then marched to meet the Karamanians. A battle again 
took place on the plain of Angora. Bayezid especially 
distinguished himself by the fierceness of his cavalry 
charges and earned for himself the sobriquet of ' the 

There are different versions as to the issue of this battle. 
Some historians describe it as a great victory for Murad, 
and claim that he treated the vanquished Emir of Kara- 
mania with great generosity, insisting only on a token of 
submission. Murad, however, was not in the habit of 

MURAD 1 39 

neglecting to take full advantage lOf any successes of his 
armies. It is very certain that, in this case, he did not 
succeed in extending his Empire. Karamania retained its 
independence for many years to come, and did not even 
submit to a nominal vassalage. It seems more probable, 
therefore, that this battle was indecisive, and that Murad 
withdrew, without having effected his purpose. 

Murad, who was now near the age of seventy, would 
have been glad to end his life in repose, but he was 
recalled to Europe by an outbreak of the Serbians. It 
appeared that the Serbian soldiers, lOn their return to their 
homes, after the campaign against the Karamianians, told 
the story of the execution of their comrades by order of 
Murad. It caused universal indignation among the 
Serbians. They could not understand a war conducted 
without the levy of booty from the enemy's country. 
The whole of Serbia rose in rebellion. An alliance iwas 
formed with Bulgaria, Bosnia, and Albania. Assistance 
was obtained from Hungary and Wallachia. Murad again 
took the field in command of an Ottoman army, and, 
crossing the Balkans, captured Schumla and Tirnova, and 
then marched towards the Danube. Sisman, the King of 
Bulgaria, shut himself up in Nicopolis, on the Danube, 
but was soon compelled to come to term's. He lagreed 
to give up Silistria to the Turks, and to pay a tribute in 
the future. 

Lazar, the King of Serbia, in spite of this defection, 
continued the struggle against the Ottomans, and Sisman 
himself broke the treaty almost before the ink was dry. 
He refused to give up Silistria, and sent a contingent in 
aid of the Serbians. Murad sent part of his army, under 
Ali Pasha, against Sisman, who was again shut up in 
Nicopolis. This fortress was captured. Murad was again 
generous in sparing Sisman 's life, but this time he de- 
prived the southern part of Bulgaria of its autonomy, and 
insisted on its being completely incorporated in the 
Turkish Empire. 

Lazar, the King of Serbia, continued the war. Murad, 
in spite of his seventy years, led his army, supported, 
as in Asia Minor, by his two sons. The decisive battle 
took place on the plain of Kossova, at the point of junction 
between Serbia and Bulgaria. It was fiercely contested. 
At a critical point of it a Serbian noble, Milosch Kobilo- 


witch, who on the previous day had been falsely charged 
in the Serbian camp with disaffection and treason, gave 
signal proof of his patriotism by. riding boldly into the 
Turkish lines, as though he Was a deserter, and clairning 
that he had a most important message to deliver to the 
Sultan. He was allowed to approach Murad, and, while 
kneeling before him, plunged a dagger into his heart, 
causing a mortal wound. Milosch then made a desperate 
rush to escape, but in vain. He was captured and brought 
to the Sultan's tent. Meanwhile Murad, in spite of his 
approaching death, was able to give orders for the charge of 
his reserves, which decided the battle in favour of the 
Ottomans. The Serbians and their allies were completely 
defeated and routed. Lazar was taken prisoner and was 
brought to the Sultan's tent. Murad lived long enough 
to direct the execution in his presence of Lazar and 
Milosch. He then expired. 

To complete the tragedy of the day, Bayezid, on hearing 
of the death of his father, and his own consequent acces- 
sion to the throne, gave immediate orders for the murder 
of his brother Yacoub, who had been his valiant com- 
panion in arms in so many battles. This was effected in 
the presence of the dead body of the father. The brutal 
deed was justified by a verse from the Koran, '* Rebellion 
is worse than execution." It was assumed by Bayezid 
that his brother would claim the throne against him. This 
was the first recorded case of fratricide in the Othman 
royal race. Thenceforth it became the settled practice for 
a Sultan of Turkey, on his accession to the throne, imme- 
diately to put to death his brothers and other collaterals, lest 
they should dispute the succession with him. By the law 
of succession the eldest living male of the reigning family, 
and not the eldest son of a defunct Sultan, was entitled 
to the throne. This supplied an additional motive for 
the practice of fratricide, for the new Sultan, by murdering 
his brothers and uncles, ensured the succession, after his 
own death, to his eldest son free from competition. In 
later times, however, when public opinion would no longer 
justify fratricide, and when the law of succession of the 
oldest male in the family was more fully recognized, the 
Sultan, on his accession to the throne, directed the close 
confinement of his next heir, generally his brother. It 
followed from this practice that the heir to the throne. 

MURAD 1 41 

instead of being employed on State affairs, or as a general, 
and gaining experience, was treated as a prisoner, and was 
forbidden to take any part in public affairs. It will be 
seen that this practice of forced seclusion of the heir to the 
throne during the lifetime of the reig'ning Sultan was one 
of the main causes of the degeneracy of the Othman 

Reverting to Murad, it has been shown how im'portant 
an epoch his reign was in the growth of the Ottoman 
Empire. During the twenty -four years of war, in which 
he led his armies in the field, he never met with 
a reverse. He extended the Empire for the first time 
into vast territories inhabited not by Turks or by 
Byzantines, but by sturdy Christian races, such as the Bul- 
garians, Serbians, and Bosnians. For the first time also 
the Turks came into conflict with the Hungarians, and 
defeated them. The influence of the Empire was extended 
practically to the Danube. Some of the intervening terri- 
tory was not treated as conquered country and added 
to the Empire, but was allowed to retain the position 
of tributary or vassal States, as in the case of Serbia. 
Other parts, such as Thrace, Macedonia, and Bulgaria, 
were fully incorporated in the dominion of the Sultan. 

Murad, when not engaged in war, devoted himself to 
perfecting the organization of his army on the lines laid 
down by his father, Orchan. He also created a new 
standing corps of soldiers, recruited from the Christian 
population of the provinces conquered in Europe. This 
was the renowned corps of Janissaries — ^the new army. Von 
Hammer and other historians following him, and more 
recently Sir Edwin Pears, give very full details as to the 
constitution of this corps and the motives of its founder. 
They state that one thousand lads, between the ages of ten 
and twelve, were in every year conscripted from amongst the 
children of Christian parents. The most physically strong 
and intelligent of them were taken. They were forcibly 
converted to Islam, and were trained with great care for 
military careers under the immediate direction of the Sultan. 
After six years of training they were drafted into a special 
corps, which reached, after a few years, a maximum of 
twelve thousand men. The discipline of this corps was very, 
severe. It formed the most efficient and reliable bbdy 
in the Ottoman army. The men looked on their regiment 


as their home. Their lives were devoted to it. They 
were not allowed to own property. What they acquired 
belonged to the regiment. They were not, till a later 
period in the history of the Empire, allowed to marry. 
They formed the backbone of the Ottoman armies in war ; 
and in many a hard -fought battle, when disaster and defeat 
were imminent, they saved the army by their intrepid and 
persistent stand against the enemy. The object which 
Murad aimed at is said to have been not merely the 
strengthening of his army by a standing force of this 
kind, but that it should, by its personal devotion to the 
Sultan, act as a check on his other turbulent forces.* 

Sir Edwin Pears says of this force : — 

Take a number of children from the most intelligent portion of the 
community ; choose them for their strength and intelligence ; instruct them 
carefully in the art of fighting ; bring them up under strict military 
discipline ; teach them to forget their childhood, their parents, and 
friends ; saturate them with the knowledge that all their hope in life 
depends upon their position in the regiment ; make peace irksome and 
war a dehght, with the hope of promotion and relaxation from the 
hardship and restraints of the barracks ; the result will be a weapon in 
the hands of a leader such as the world has rarely seen. Such a weapon 
was the army of the Janissaries.' 

The levy of children was regarded by the Christians as 
a blood tax of a terrible kind. The corps thus formed 
was a most valuable instrument in the hands of Sultans who 
were strong enough to control it. But later, in the times 
of degenerate Sultans, it became a kind of Praetorian 
Guard. It dictated the deposition of Sultans and the 
nomination of their successors. It often insisted on a 

' Mr. Gibbons in his account of the origin of this corps disputes 
the figures as reported above from previous writers, and also the alleged 
motives for its constitution. After careful consideration of the question, 
I have preferred to adhere to the version given by Sir Edwin Pears, who 
has investigated the subject with great care in the early Greek and 
Turkish histories. I have, however, followed Mr. Gibbons in one poin^, 
namely, in attributing the constitution of the force to Murad I rather 
than to Orchan. Mr. Gibbons's account of the corps of Janissaries is to 
be found on pp. n8-20 of the Foundation of the Ottoman Empire, and 
that of Sir Edwin Pears in his work on the Destruction of the Greek 
Empire, pp. 223-30. =* Pears, p. 228. 


policy of war. In 1648, under Mahomet IV, the restric- 
tion of the force to Christian children was removed, and 
the sons of Janissaries and other Moslems were admitted. 
Later the levy of Christian children was abandoned, and 
none but sons of Moslems were admitted to the corps. 
After the time of Solyman its numbers were greatly in- 
creased. It became a danger to the State. It will be 
seen that in 1826 Mahmoud II took vengeance on it for 
the humiliations he and previous Sultans had undergone, 
and extinguished it in ruthless scenes of blood. 

There cannot be a doubt, however, that Murad, by 
creating this corps of Janissaries and recruiting it from 
the Christian population in Europe, forged a weapon which 
for two hundred years to come played a dominant part 
in the agg^randizement of the Ottoman Empire. 

KnoUes, in his graphic history of the Turkish Empire, 
sums up the character of Murad in the following sentences, 
which could not be improved up^on : — 

Murad was more zealous than any other of the Turkish kings ; a man of 
great courage and in all his attempts fortunate ; he made greater slaughter 
of his enemies than both his father and grandfather ; his kingdom in 
Asia he greatly enlarged by the sword, marriage, and purchase ; and using 
the discord and cowardice of the Grecian princes to his profit, subdued a 
great part of Thracia, with the territories adjoining thereto, leaving unto 
the Emperor of Constantinople little or nothing more in Thracia than the 
imperial city itself, with the bare name of an emperor almost without an 
empire ; he won a great part of Bulgaria and entered into Serbia, Bosnia, 
and Macedonia ; he was liberal and withal severe ; of his subjects both 
beloved and feared ; a man of very few words, and one that could 
dissemble deeply.* 

* Knolles, i. p, 139. 




Bayezid succeeded his father, Murad, at the age of thirty - 
four. He reigned as Suhan for only fourteen years, the 
last of which was spent in captivity. No one of the Othman 
race passed through such vicissitudes, with such a brilliant 
career of victory during nearly the whole of his reign, but 
ending with overwhelming and crushing defeat. He had 
all the courage and military capacity of his three predeces- 
sors. He excelled them greatly in cruelty and brutality. 
In his private life he descended to depths of sensuality 
and unmentionable and degrading vice which were unknown 
to them. 

Early in his reign he adopted a much bolder attitude 
toward the Christian Powers of Europe than Murad had 
thought prudent. To a deputation from Italy asking for a 
renewal of commercial privileges, he rephed that when he 
had conquered Hungary he intended to ride to Rome, and 
there give feed to his horse with oats on the altar of St. 
Peter's. His treatment of his Christian subjects was much 
harsher than that of his predecessors. 

Bayezid followed up his father's great victory at Kossova 
over the Serbians, and compelled Stephen, the su,ccessor 
of Lazar, to sue for peace. The terms of the treaty then 
agreed to were very moderate. Instead of being incor- 
porated in the Ottoman Empire as Bulgaria had been, 
Serbia was to be an autonomous State, under vassalage 
to the Ottoman Empire, paying tribute in money, and 
bound to provide and maintain a contingent of five thousand 
soldiers at the disposal of the Sultan. Stephen, its prince, 
also gave his sister, Despina, to the Sultan as an additional 
wife. He most loyally carried out his promises to Bayezid. 


In the great battles of Nicopolis against the Hungarians and 
the crusaders from Western Europe, and of Angora against 
Timur^ the Serbian contingent fougliit with the utmost 
bravery, and there were no more loyal soldiers in the 
Ottoman ranks. 

Having come to terms with Serbia, Bayezid marched 
southwards with his army, and took up a menacing position 
near to Constantinople, where the aged and feeble John 
Palseologus still reigned, supported by his son Manuel as 
CO -Emperor. By threatening to promote the cause of 
Andronicus, whose eyesight had not been quite extinguished, 
after his mad rebellion against the Emperor, the Sultan 
compelled the two Emperors to sign a treaty, under which 
the remnant of the Greek Empire became an abject vassal 
State to that of the Ottomans. The Emperors promised 
to pay an annual tribute of thirty thousand pieces of gold 
and to supply a contingent of twelve thousand men to the 
Ottoman army to be at the disposal of the Sultan for 
any purpose he might design. They also undertook to sur- 
render to the Ottomans the stronghold of Philadelphia, 
the only remaining possession of the Byzantine Empire in 
Asia Minor. When the officer in command of that city 
refused to surrender it, Bayezid insisted on the Greek 
Emperor employing his contingent in capturing his own city, 
and on his leading the assault on it, with the aid of his 
son Manuel, for the purpose of handing it over to himself, 
their nominal ally, but crafty and designing foe. It would 
be difficult to imagine a lower depth of humiliation and 
cowardice than that to which the Emperor and his son 
thus descended. These public humiliations were aggra- 
vated by a domestic one. Bayezid, having captured at 
sea a vessel bringing a foreign princess as a bride for 
Manuel, took a great fancy for the lady, and insisted on 
her entering his own harem. 

Bayezid next turned his attention to Asia Minor, where 
he was mainly ambitious to add to his Empire. His 
first effort there was directed against Aidin. After defeat- 
ing its Emir and annexing the State, he dealt in the same 
way with the Emirs of Sarukhan and Mentsche. He 
then made an attack on the city of Smyrna, at that time 
in possession - of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. 
The Knights made a vigorous resistance, and Bayezid, not 
having cc^mrnand of the sea, was compelled, after six weeks. 


to withdraw from the siege. He next, in 1391, attacked 
the Emir of Tekke, and took from him' what had been 
left under his rule by Murad, including the important city 
of Adalia. The Ottoman frontier was now conterminous 
with that of Karamania, whose Emir, Alaeddin, was brother- 
in-law to the Sultan. This family connection was no pro- 
tection to him. Bayezid invaded and laid siege to Konia. 
He withdrew on Alaeddin agreeing to give up a slice of 
his Emirate, including the city of Ak-Sheir. 

Having achieved these annexations, for which there was 
no justification other than mere greed for the extension of his 
Empire, Bayezid returned to Adrianople, leaving his general, 
Timurtash, in command of the conquered provinces. The 
Greek Emperor John, meanwhile, had been engaged 
in putting his capital into a state of defence, and for 
this purpose had demolished three of the most beautiful 
churches of Constantinople, intending to use their masonry 
for the erection of new forts. The Sultan, when he heard 
of this, sent word to the Emperors ordering* them to desist 
from any such work, and threatening to deprive Manuel 
of his eyesight. The Emperor had no alternative but to 
obey. But this humiliation was the last he had to endure. 
He died very shortly afterwards, under the weight of his 
cares and anxieties, as some historians say, but according 
to others of gout and debauchery. His son, Manuel, who 
was detained at the Court of the Sultan, acting as a kind 
of Groom of the Chamber, on hearing of his father's 
death, secretly fled and reached Constantinople, where lie 
was installed as the successor to his father. Bayezid by 
way of reprisal for this directed a blockade by land of 
Constantinople. There commenced what was virtually a 
siege by land of the city, w^hich lasted for seven years, till 
the invasion of Asia Minor by Timur caused a diversion and 
brought it to an end. 

Leaving a part of his forces to conduct this blockade, 
and with instructions to h^tass the Greek garrison by day 
and night, Bayezid, with the larger part of his army, 
marched through Bulgaria, and compelled the Prince of 
Wallachia to submit as a vassal of the Ottoman Empire. 
A part of his army then penetrated into Syrmia and engaged 
in war with the Hungarians. It was defeated and driven 
back, and Sigismund, the Hungarian King, was able to 
make a counter-attack, and to capture the important strong- 


hold of Nicopolis. He, in turn, was forced to abandon 
the city, mainly by the assistance given to Bayezid Jby 
the Wallachians . It was during his retreat through the 
Duchy of Hunyadi that Sigismujid met and becamfe 
enamoured with Elizabeth Moronay. The offspring of this 
liaison was the celebrated Hungarian hero Hunyadi the 
Great, who later took such an active part against the 

In 1393, Bayezid sent an army, under command of his 
eldest son, Solymian, to invade the northern part of Bulgaria, 
which still enjoyed an autonomous existence. Tirnova, 
its capital, was taken by storm after a siege of three 
weeks. Its inhabitants were sent into Asia Minor as slaves. 
He then decided to incorporate the northern part of 
Bulgaria in the Ottoman Empire in the same manner ^s 
the southern part had already been treated. This com- 
pleted the servitude of the Bulgarian people. Sisman, their 
prince, disappeared from the scene, and the ruling family 
became extinct. The land was confiscated, except in a 
few cases where the owners were allowed to become 
Moslems. It was parcelled out to Turks under a feudal 
system involving military service, while the cultivators of 
the soil were reduced to serfdom. 

About this time the fortresses of Nicopolis, Widdin, and 
Silistria fell into the hands of the Ottomans and opened 
the way into Hungary. Bayezid commenced a system' of 
raids into that country, not for the purpose, at that time, 
of acquiring its territory, but for plunder. His Turkish 
* akin j is,* or irregulars, spread terror over wide districts, 
burning and destroying villages and carrying off their 
inhabitants for sale as slaves. He fitted out ships also 
with the same object in the newly acquired ports in Asia 
Minor, and ravaged the islands of Chios and Negropont 
and districts on the coast of Greece. 

Bayezid was now compelled by an outbreak in his recent 
acquisitions in Asia Minor, fomented by the Emir of 
Karamania, to suspend operations on his northern frontier 
in Europe and to transfer his army to Asia. He received 
at Brusa an envoy from his brother-in-law, Alaeddin of 
Karamania, suing for peace . Bayezid replied that the sword 
alone could determine the issue betwieen them. He sent 
an army at once, under Timurtash, against the Kara- 
manians. It encoiintered Alaeddin on the plain of Ak-Tchai. 


The Turkish army was completely successful. xA.laeddin 
and his twio sons were captured, and without waiting for 
authority from Bayezid, Timurtash had them' hanged. 
When Bayezid heard of this treatment of his brother-in- 
law, he affected to be greatly distressed and incensed, 
but he soon consoled himself by a text from the Koran, 
'* The death of a prince is less regrettable than the loss 
of a province," and he gave practical application of the 
verse by orders to his army to occupy, and annex the 
whole of Karamania. There was no resistance. Konia 
and other cities in the eastern pajrt of the State were 
taken. In spite of this, however, Karamania was not at this 
time finally incorporated in the Ottoman Empire. After 
the invasion of Asia Minor by Timur it recovered its 
independence, and it was not tiJl seventy years later that 
it was finally subjected and incorporated. 

About the same time, 1393-4, Bayezid made further 
important conquests in Asia Minor — namely, Samsun, 
Cassarea, and Sivas, the last of the most important 
fortresses on the frontier of Armenia. These great 
successes both in Europe and Asia were followed by a 
period of repose, during which Bayezid gave himself up 
to a life of gross debauchery. He was recalled from 
this by threats of war on the part of Sigismund, King 
of Hungary, and he soon showed that he had lost none 
of his vigour and dash. 

Sigismund had fretted under the constant raids on his 
kingdom, above referred to, and had for some time past 
been contemplating war against the Ottomans for the 
recovery of the fortresses on the Danube, which were so 
great a menace to him. For this purpose he appealed, 
in 1395, to the Christian Powers of Euirope for assistance. 
He was backed up by Pope Boniface IX, who preached 
another crusade against the infidels. Through the efforts 
of the King of France, Charles VI, a large number of 
leading nobles of France were induced to band together, 
under the Comte de Nevers, son of the Duke of Burgundy, 
a young man of twenty -two years, without any military 
experience. A thousand horsemen, chevaliers of good birth 
and position, and six thousand attendants and mercenaries 
were enrolled in France for this adventure. Others came 
from England and Scotland, and from Flanders, Lombardy, 
and Savoy. On their mlarch through Germany to Hungary 


they were joined by great numbers of German knights, 
under Count Frederick of Hohenzollern, the Grand Prior 
of the Teutonic Order, and by a large force of Bavarians, 
under the Elector Palatine. Later they were reinforced 
by a number of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, under 
the command of de Naillac, their Grand Master. When 
joined by the Hungarian army, under Sigismund, and by 
the contingents from Wallachia and Bosnia, they made up a 
total force of about sixty thousand men. The expedition 
was in the nature of a crusade, but was miore secular 
than religious in its aims and methods, and was regarded, 
it seems, by most of those engaged in it rather as a kind of 
picnic than as a serious campaign. The composite force 
collected together at Buda, in Hungary, in the summer of 
1396, and thence marched down the Danube to Nico- 
polis, capturing Widdin and Sistova on the way. When 
passing through Serbia they ravaged wide districts inhabited 
by innocent Christians, and emulated, if they did not exceed, 
the Ottomans in cruel devastation, as though they were in 
an enemy's country. They established their camp before 
Nicopolis in September, but for sixteen days they refrained 
from assaulting the fortress, which was bravely defended 
by an Ottoman garrison, thus giving time to Bayezid to 
collect his army and to advance against the allied forces. 

The Christian camp was the scene of riotous living* 
and gambling. Large numbers of courtesans had accom- 
panied the crusaders. The whole army was in a state of 
indiscipline and disorder. The French knights were 
boastful. They spoke with contempt of the Turkish troops, 
and could not believe that there was any danger from 
them. Bayezid, whose army was full of confidence in 
its superiority, was allowed to approach within striking 
distance, without any attempt to harass his advance. Even 
then the Christians did not beHeve there was danger. 
The Turks suddenly came into contact with them. The 
knights were com^pelled to abandon their gaming tables 
and their women, and to face the enemy whom they had 
so much despised. 

The Ottoman army was preceded by large numbers of 
scouts and irregulars. The leaders of the chevaliers, 
knowing nothing of the numbers of the Ottomans or of 
their methods in war, and utterly despising them, most 
rashly proposed an immediate attack by the whole force 



of their splendid cavalry. The King* of Ho^^gary, who 
had had experience of the Ottornams and who knew their 
method of masking the main body of their array by 
irregulars, was more cautious, and advised that the foot 
soldiers of Hungary and Wallachia should be first em'ployed 
to meet the attack of the Turkish irregulars, and that 
the cavalry should be reserved to meet the main body 
of the Ottomans. The chevaliers were furious at this 
suggestion. They suspected Sigismiund of playing for his 
own hand, and of wishing to rob them of the glory of a 
great victory. They insisted on an immediate attack. 
Sigismund, on hearing of this decision, said, ** We shall 
lose the day through the great piride and folly of these 
French." And so it turned out. 

The chevaliers advanced in splendid array and had no 
difficulty in dispersing and slaughtering the mob of 
Turkish irregulars. But this impetuous charge spent 
their energy and tired their horses. When they were 
confronted by the main body of the Ottomans, sixty 
thousand in number, they were powerless to resist. They 
were surrounded and were compelled to surrender. The 
main body of Hungarian foot soldiers, when they came in 
contact with the Ottomans, were not mC>re fortunate. The 
Wallachians, who formed one of the wing's of the army, 
when they saw how the battle was going, retired from the 
field without a fight. The centiie of the Hungarian ^jmy, 
under Sigismund, supported by the Bavarians, made a miost 
gallant fight, and might have been successful if it had 
not been that the Serblian army, winder Prince Stephen, 
came at a critical time, in support of the Ottomans, and 
turned the scale in their favour. After a battle of only 
three hours the Christian allies were completely defeated 
with great slaughter on both sides. Ten thousand of the 
Christians, including most of the surviving chevaliers, were 
taken prisoners. Those who escaped across the Danube 
suffered terribly in their retreat through Wallachia. They 
were l>eaten and maltreated by the peasantry, for whom 
they had shown no consideration in their advance. 

Sigismund and the Grand Prior of Rhodes, at a late 
stage of the battle, ajblandoned the army to its fate. They 
escaped in a small boat down the Danube, and were taken 
on board by a Venetian vessel, which conveyed them to 
Germany through the Black Sea, the Dardanelles, and the 

Bayezid i 5i 

Adriatic. On passing the Straits the Turks paraded before 
their eyes the knights made captives at Nicopolis. One 
of these prisoners thus described what took place : — 

The Osmanlis took us out of the towers of Gallipoli and led us to the 
sea, and one after the other they abused the King of Hungary as he passed, 
and mocked him and called to him to come out of the boat and deliver 
his people ; and this they did to make fun of him, and skirmished a long 
time with each other on the sea. But they did not do him any harm, 
and so he went away.' 

On the morning of the battle of Nicopolis, Bayezid, 
when told of the heavy losses of his own army, and that 
in the early part of the battle the chevaliers had massa,cred 
a number of Turks who had surrendered on promise lof 
life, was greatly incensed. He gave orders that all the 
Christian prisoners to the number of ten thousand were 
to be put to death in his presence. He made an excep- 
tion only in favour of twenty-four of the knights, including 
de Nevers, their leader, for whose release a heavy ranson 
might be expected. But they were compelled to witness the 
execution of their cc)mrades in arms. 

On taking leave of them a year later at Brusa, Bayezid 
addressed de Nevers in these proud and insolent terms : — 

John, I know thee well, and am informed that you are in your own 
country a great lord. You are young, and in the future I hope you 
will be able to recover with your courage from the shame of the 
misfortune which has come to you in your foul knightly enterprise, and 
that in the desire of getting rid of the reproach and recovering your 
honour you will assemble your power to come against me and give me 
battle. If I were afraid of that and wanted to, before your release, I 
would make you swear upon your oath and religion that you would never 
bear arms against me, nor those who are in your company here. But 
no ; neither upon you nor any other of those here will I impose this 
oath, because I desire, when you have returned to your home, and will 
have leisure, that you assemble your power and come against me. You 
will find me always ready to meet you and your people on the field of 
battle. And what I say to you, you can say in like manner to those 
to whom you will have the pleasure of speaking about it, because for 
this purpose was I born, to carry arms and always to conquer what is 
ahead of me.' 

Before their final departure, Bayezid treated these knights 
t;o a day's sport on a regal scale ; seven thousand falconers 
» Gibbons, p. 221. ' Froissart, xvi. 47. 


were employed on the occasion, and five thousand men led 
dogs to pick up the game. The historian does not state 
what was the bag resulting from this great battue. 

Of the twenty-four knig'hts only one, Marshal Boucicaut, 
took up the parting challenge of Bayezid and returned to 
the East to make war against him. The others showed no 
desire to wipe out the disgrace of their defeat. ^ 

After this great battle at Nicopolis the Ottoman army 
made irruptions into Wallachia, Styria, and Hungary. The 
city of Peterwardein was captured and eighteen thousand 
of its inhabitants were sold into slavery. Another division 
invaded Syrmia, and devastated the country between |the 
Drave and the Danube. The fortresses on the river 
taken by the crusaders were recaptured. The raid into 
Wallachia was a failure. The Turks engaged in it were 
defeated arid driven hack. Bayezid himself threatened 
Buda, in Hungary, but his progress was checked by la 
long and painful fit of gout. . Gibbon moralizes on ithis 
in the following sentence : *' The disorders of the moral 
are sometimes corrected by those of the physical world ; 
and an acrimonious humour falling on a single fibre of 
one man may prevent or suspend the misery of nations."* 
The invasion of Hungary on this occasion was a failure. 

After this campaign Bayezid returned to Adrianople, and 
there occupied himself by inflicting further humiliations 
on the Greek Empire. He forced Manuel to resign land 
imposed John, the son of Andronicus, as its Emperor. 
He then issued forth again with his army, in 1397, and 
fell like a thunderbolt on Greece, without any warning or 
cause of complaint. He marched with his army through 
Thessaly, capturing on the way Larissa and Pharsalia. He 
passed through Thermopylae. The mere passage of his 
afmy sufficed to subdue Doris and Locris. His two 
generals, Yacoub and Evrenos, then invaded the Pelopon- 
nesus. The latter captured and pillaged Argos. Its 
inhabitants, to the number of thirty thousand, were sold 
as slaves and deported to Asia. Colonies of Turks iwere 
planted in the Morea. Theodore Palasologus, who acted 

* Boucicaut in 1399, with four ships and two armed galleys and 
twelve hundred knights and foot soldiers, after defeating an Ottoman 
fleet in the Dardanelles, arrived at Constantinople and gave assistance 
to the Emperor in defence of the city. ' Gibbon, viii. p. 114. 


as despot there on behalf of the Greek Empire, agteed 
to become tribiitary of the Sultan. 

Returning to Adrianople, Bayezid determined to obtain 
immediate possession of Constantinople. The Greek Empire 
had been already deprived of nearly all territory outside the 
walls of its capital. The Sultan opened proceedings against 
it by sending an envoy to the Emperor with this insulting 
message : — 

When I dethroned your predecessor, Manuel, it was not in your interest 
but in mine. If, then, you want to remain my friend, you must surrender 
your crown. I will give you any other government you may wish for. 
If you do not consent, I swear by God and the Prophet I will not spare a 
soul in your city ; I will exterminate all of them. 

The citizens of Constantinople, rather than experience 
the terrible fate which they knew would befall them in 
the event of a successful assault by the Ottoman army, 
wtere willing to come to terms. But the Emperor, who was 
buoyed up by hope of assistance from the Christian Powers, 
refused to acquiesce in a pusillanimous surrender. He 
replied to the ambassador in dignified terms : " Tell your 
master that, feeble as we are, we know no other power to 
whom to address ourselves if it be not God, Who protects 
the feeble and humbles the powerful. Let the Sultan do 
what he pleases.** 

At this stage, and before he could give effect to his 
threats, Bayezid was compelled by g'reat events in Asia to 
raise the siege of Constantinople. Hitherto, in twelve years 
of incessant war, Bayezid had been uniformly successful. He 
had annexed the greater part of Asia Minor, Macedonia, 
Northern Bulgaria, and Thessaly. He had reduced to 
vassalage the Greek Empire itself and Serbia, Wallachia, 
Bosnia, and a great part of Greece. He had defeated the 
feudal chivalry of Europe in the great battle of NicopoUs. 
He had not met with a single reverse. The next two years, 
the last of his reign, were to result in disastrous and over- 
whelming defeat to him, in his capture and death, and 
in the temporary crumpling up of the Tiirkish Empire . 
He came into conflict for the first time with Timur, a 
general and a conqueror more resolute, crafty, able, and 
cruel than himself. 

Timur the Tartar, better known to us as Timurlane 


-— Timur the lame, for he had met in early life with an 
accident which lamed him — was the greatest, the mbst ruth- 
less, and the most devastating of warriors recorded in 
all history. Born in 1333, a descendant through his 
mother of the great Gengis Khan, he began life as a 
petty chief of a Tartar tribe in the neighbourhood of 
Samarkand. It was not till he had reached the age of 
thirty-five that he achieved eminence over other neigh- 
bouring Tartar States. He then conceived the ambition 
of universal conquest. "As there was only one God in 
heaven," he said, ** so thei^e should be only one ruler on 
earth " — ^that one was to be himself. He went a long 
way towards gaining this object of his ambition, for he 
embarked on a career which, in rather less thkn thirty - 
five years, resulted in an empire extending from the Great 
Wall of China to the frontier of Asia Minor, and from 
the Sea of Aral to the River Ganges and the Persian 
Gulf. He had, by this time, conquered twienty-seven 
separate States and extinguished nine dynasties. He 
efifected his purpose, not only by force of arms, b'ut by 
a deliberate policy of terrorism. After victory he was 
of settled purpose ruthless in cruelties on the greatest 

It was obvious that, sooner or later, he would come into 
conflict with what was, at that time, the only other growing 
military Power in the world— the Ottoman Empire. The 
two potentates had already become neighbours, and causes 
of dispute and antagonism were often arising between them. 
Each had sheltered refugee princes, whose territories had 
been absorbed by the other, and who were engaged in 
intrigues to stir up war between the two rivals, in the hope 
of regaining their possessions. Insolent messages passed 
between the two potentates. 

What is the foundation of thy insolence and folly ? [wrote Timur to 
Bayezid]. Thou hast fought some battles in the woods of AnatoHa ; con- 
temptible trophies ! Thou hast obtained some victories over the Christians 
of Europe ; thy sword was blessed by the Apostle of God ; and thy 
obedience to the precepts of the Koran in waging war against the infidel 
is the sole consideration that prevents us from destroying thy country, 
the frontier and bulwark of the Moslem world. Be wise in time ; reflect ; 
repent ; and avert the thunder of our vengeance which is yet suspended 
over thy head. Thou art no more than an ant ; why wilt thou seek to 
provoke the elephants ? Alas, they wilJ trample thee under their feet? 


Bayezid replied in terms of the greatest indignation. 
He protested that Timur had never triumphed unless by 
his own perfidy and the vices of his foes. 

Thy armies are innumerable : be they so ; but what are the arrows 
of the flying Tartars against the scimitars and battle-axes of my firm and 
invincible Janissaries ? I will guard the princes who have implored 
my protection ; seek them in my tents. The cities of Arzingan and 
Erzerum are mine ; and unless the tribute be paid I will demand the 
arrears under the walls of Tauris and Sultania. 

And he added an insult of a yet grosser kind which, by 
its allusion to the harem, was the worst that could be 
devised by a Moslem : — 

If I fly from thy arms may my wives be thrice divorced from my 
bed ; but if thou hast not courage to meet me in the field, mayest thou 
again receive thy wives after they have thrice endured the embrace of 
a stranger. 

After this interchange of abuse Timur determined, in 
1400, to attack and invade Asia Minor from Armenia, 
at the head of a horde of armed men, estimated by 
historians at not less than eight hundred thousand. He laid 
siege to Sivas, in Cappadocia, on the Armenian frontier, 
which had only been captured by Bayezid about three 
years previously. It was now defended by a garrison 
of Turks, under command of Ertoghrul, the eldest son 
of Bayezid. The fortifications were immensely strong, but 
Timur was ready to sacrifice any number of men in assault- 
ing and capturing the city. He employed six thousand 
miners in undermining its defences with galleries and 
propping up the walls temporarily with timber smeared 
with pitch. When the mines were completed, fire was 
applied to the timber, and the walls gradually sank into 
the cavities laid open to them, and afforded entrance to 
the assaulting columns. The city was captured. Four 
thousand of its defenders were buried alive by order of 
Timur, and Ertoghrul was executed. 

Bayezid, thus challenged, advanced, in 1401, with an 
army of one hundred and twenty thousand men to avenge 
the disaster at Sivas. Timur, however, after the capture 
of that city, refrained from advancing farther into Asia 
^finor. He passed into Syria and captured Damascus, 


and thence into Mesopotanlia for the capture of Bagdad. 
It was not till the next year, 1402, that he determined to 
return to Asia Minor and to humble Bayezid. He retraced 
his steps to Sivas, and thence, after a further (exchange 
of insolent messages with the Ottoman Sultan, he went in 
search of him^ towards Angora, taking the route of 
Caesarea and Kir Sheir. 

Bayezid had also collected a great army in the east 
of Asia Minor, and had finally concentrated it in the neigh- 
bourhood of Angora.. He showed none of his previous 
skill as a general, though all of his insolence and bravado. 
His army was discontented by his avarice, and by his 
neglect to pay them out of the well -filled treasury. He 
refused to foUdw the advice of his best generals, who 
warned him a^gainst meeting Timur's vast hosts on a 
field where they could deploy their whole strength. The 
two armies met at last on- the plain of Angora, the site 
of many previous famous battles. It is almost inconceivable 
that Bayezid, in arrogant contempt of his foe, employed 
his army, in the face of the enemy, in a great hunt for 
game, wliich led them into a district devoid of water, 
where his soldiers suffered terribly, and five thousand are 
said to have died of thirst. ^ 

On return to their camp they found that Timur (had 
diverted the stream which supplied it with water. Bayezid 
was forced to fight at a disadvantage. The Tartars, who 
formed a fourth part of the Ottoman army, were not to be 
relied on in this battle. Their sympathies were with their 
fellow -Tartars under Timur. Bayezid had committed the 
fatal error of placing them in the front line, after his usual 
tactics of meeting the first encounter of the enemy with 
inferior troops. But in this case the Tartars deserted on 
the field of battle. The Serbian contingent, under Prince 
Stephen, and other Christian vassal troops fought with the 
utmost gallantry and loyalty. But it was in vain. The 
whole Ottoman army was outnumbered, overwhelmed, and 
routed with great slaughter. Bayezid with his bodyguard 
made a last stand. ** The Thunderbolt," says the Turkish 
historian, '* continued to wield a heavy battle-axe. As a 
starving w'olf scattering a flock of sheep he scattered the 
enemy. Each blow of his redoubtable axe struck in such 
a way that there was no need of a second blow.** But in 
the end he was overpowered and taken prisoner, 


Bayezid for some time after his capture was treated with 
unwonted generosity by Timur, who was impressed by 
his dignified bearing, in spite of his overwhelming defeat 
and humiliation. But after an attempt to escape he was 
more rigidly guarded, and was put into fetters at night. 
The treatment of him became more cruel and contemptuous. 
He was carried by day in the train of Timur, when on 
the march, in a litter, which was in effect a cagfe ' wi,th 
open bars, exposed to the derision and contemjpt of the 
Tartars. His wife, Despina, the Serbian princess, was com- 
pelled to serve Timur with drink at his meals in a state 
of nudity, and with other women of Bayezid 's harem !was 
taken into that of the conqueror. Timur is also said 
to have made a footstool of his conquered foe. 

Bayezid died of a broken heart after eight months of 
humiliation, at the age of forty-eight. During that time 
Timur overran the greater part of Asia Minor, capturing 
Nicaea and Brusa and many other strongholds from the 
Ottomans, and Smyrna from' the Knights of St. John of 
Jerusalem. The walls of Smyrna were undermined in the 
same way as those of Sivas. In two weeks Timur 
effected a capture which Bayezid had failed to do in three 
times that length of time. The Knights, when they found 
that the city was no longer tenable, fought their way 
down to their galleys against the crowd of despairing 
inhabitants. Most of them escaped to Rhodes and effected 
there another settlement. Those who failed to escape were 
put to death by Timur, who built a pyramid of their heads. 
Everywhere there Was ruthless cruelty. When approach- 
ing the city of Ephesus, children came out to meet him 
singing songs to appease his wrath. "What is this 
noise?" he asked. When told, he ordered his horsemen 
to ride over the children. They were trampled to death. 

Timur reinstated in their former territories, as tribu- 
taries to his own Empire, most of the petty princes who 
had been dispossessed by the Turks, including the Emir 
of Karanxania . He eventually returned to Samarkand, where 
he made preparations for the invasion of China, but before 

* This story of the cage, which forms the subject of a scene in Marlowe's 
play of Tamerlane, has been discredited by some historians of late years. 
But Mr. Gibbons, after a full and careful examination of all the records 
pf the time, has re-established its veracity. 


this could be realized he died^ at the age of seventy- 
one, two yeafs after the death of Bayezid. As a result 
of his raid into Asia Minor the Ottomlan Empire there, 
for the time being, completely collapsed. But the Tartars 
disappeared without leaving any traqe behind them. 

If Bayezid 's physical downfall was overwhelming and 
humiliating, his moral decadence w^-s even worse, and, 
as it turned out, was mjore permanently injurious to the 
people of his Empire by the evil example it set. In 
the brief periods of peace, spent at Brusa and Adrianople, 
he gave way to self-indulgence and vice .of a deplorable 
kind. He was the first of his race to break the laws 
of the Prophet and to drink too freely of wine. In com- 
pany with his Grand Vizier, Ali, he was addicted to drunken 
orgies. Still worse, he was tempted by that boon com- 
panion to give way to vice of unmentionable depnavity, 
condemned by all the world. The Empire was ransacked 
for good-looking boys, the sons of Christian parents, who 
were compelled to embrace Islamism and to enter the 
service of the Court, nominally as pages, but really to pander 
to the degrading desire of the Sultan. In adopting^ such 
practices, Bayezid set the fashion to others of his entourage. 
The moral infection then spread widely among the upper 
classes of society, especially among the judges and ulemas. 
There can be little doubt that immorality infected the upper 
society of the Empire and was one of thte causes which 
ultimately led to decadence and ruin. 

It is to be noted of Bayezid that in his short but 
strenuous career of conquest he did not show any falling 
off of vigour and courage aB a result of his excesses. 
But in his final campaign ag'ainst Timur his conduct 
was so fatuous as to give rise to the belief that his gross 
debauchery had resulted in softening of the brain. How- 
ever that may have been, he met in Timur a greater 
man than himself who, even at the agie of seventy, had 
lost none of his vigour of mind and body, and who, as 
master also of bigger battalions, was practically invincible. 


On the death of Sultan Bayezid, in captivity, it seemed as 
though the Ottoman Empire was doomed to extinction. 
Asia Minor had already passed out of its hands, and was 
either in possession of the Emirs who had been reinstated 
in their territories by Timur, and who had sworn alle- 
giance to him, or was still in the occupation of the invading' 
Tartars. It was not to be expected that the Emipire in 
Europe would survive when it could no longer draw support 
from Asia. The Christian populations of Bulgaria, Bosnia, 
and Wallachia would soon reassert their independence, and 
the Greek Empire might be expected to recover some of 
its lost provinces. The Turkish Empire, however, showed 
a most unexpected vitality. It survived not only the 
invasion of Timur, but civil war, which after the death 
of Bayezid broke out between four of his sons. An inter- 
regnum of ten years occurred, during which there was 
internecine war between these claimants to his throne. The 
Empire emerged from these stupendous difficulties, under 
the able rule of the youngest of them, Mahomet I, as 
strong as ever, and without the loss of a single province. 

Timur's hosts, after ravaging the whole of Asia Minor, 
departed like a swarm of locusts which has denuded a 
district of its produce and then seeks fresh ground. They 
returned to Central Asia. They left nothing behind in 
Asia Minor of Tartar rule, either of an army or of an 
administration. The field was left open to the Ottomans 
to fight among themselves and their former vassals and 
neighbours for such a settlement as could be achieved by 
the strongest of them. 

Of the six sons of Bayezid, five fought with him lat 



Angora in command of divisions of his army. One of 
them, Mustapha, was supposed to be among the slain ; 
another, Musa, was taken prisoner and shared the captivity 
of his father. The other three escaped. The eldest of 
them, Solyman, accompanied by the Grand Vizier, AU, and 
Hassan, the Agha of the Janissaries, made his way to 
Adrianople, where, on the death of Bayezid, he had himself 
proclaimed Sultan, and exercised power as such over the 
European provinces of the Empire. Issa, a younger son, fled 
to Brusa, where he also claimed to be successor to his father, 
and Mahomet, the youngest son, but by far the ablest, retired 
to Amasia, a small principality in the north-east of Asia 
Minor. He there assumed authority over the district. 
After the death of their father these three claimants for 
succession to his Empire fought it out between themselves, 
and, later on, a fourth claimant was added to the list in 
Musa, who had been set free by Timur, in order thiat he 
might convey the dead body of his father for interment at 

The earliest conflict was between Mahomet and Issa. 
Mahomet offered to divide between Jth'emi the Ottoman posses- 
sions in Asia. Issa refused and claimed the whole of them. 
He was defeated and fled to Europe, where he sought the 
assistance of Solyman, who had firmly established him:self 
in the Ottoman dominions there, and who was now able 
to lead an army into Asia Minor in support of Issa. 
Mahomet was hard pressed by Solyman. He sent Musa 
across the Straits to effect a diversion by raising revolt 
against Solyman in Europe. This had the desired effect, 
and Solyman was compelled to return to Adrianople. After 
his departure Mahomet succeeded in defeating Issa again, 
and the latter disappeared and was heard of no more. 

In Europe, Solyman and Musa were now in deadly con- 
flict. Solyman was much the same type of man as his 
father — of great vigour and courage in action, but given 
to orgies of drink and debauchery. The Agha of the 
Janissaries in vain tried to rouse him from the apathy to 
which he was often reduced after these bouts. He 
threatened to shave the Agha's beard with his sword. He 
was often severe and even cruel to his soldiers, and finally 
the Janissaries, incensed by his brutal treatment, his dissolute 
habits, and his inability to rouse himself to action, rebelled 
against him, at the instance of Hassan, and put him to 


death. They then took service under Musa, who became 
master of the position in Europe and assumed the title of 

After an expedition to Serbia for the purpose of 
avenging what he considered their treachery to him in 
supporting Mahomet, and where he committed the most 
revolting cruelties, Musa returned to Adrianople, and opened 
a campaign against the Emperor Manuel, who, after the 
death of Bayezid, had superseded Andronicus on the Greek 
throne and who supported Mahomet. 

The Emperor appealed to Mahomet for assistance. 
Mahomet, with a Turkish army, supported by the Serbian 
contingent, crossed the Bosphorus in answer to this appeal, 
and the strange sight was witnessed of a Turkish army, 
under command of one of the Othmjan race, defending 
Constantinople against another Turkish army. 

Musa eventually retreated from his lines in front of 
Constantinople, and was pursued by Mahomet. When, 
later, the two armies came into close touch on the borders 
of Serbia, a conflict was avoided by a revolt of Musa's 
troops. The Agha, Hassan, addressed the Janissaries in 
the very presence of Musa. "Why," he said to them, 
** do you hesitate to go over to the ranks of the most just 
and virtuous of the Othman princes ? Why subject your- 
selves to be outrag^ed by a man who can take care neither 
of himself nor of others ? ' ' 

Musa, on hearing this harangue to his troops, rushed 
at Hassan and slew him. The companion of Hassan struck 
at Musa with his sword and wounded him in the hand. 
The troops, when they saw that their general was seriously 
wounded, were seized with panic. They deserted and went 
over to Mahomet. Musa fled with three attendants, and, 
later, his dead body w^as found in a marsh. 

Mahomet was now in undisputed command of the Empire 
as Sultan. He reigned as such for only eight years. He 
showed, during that time, infinite skill and patience, as 
a statesman equally as a general, in restoring, consolidating, 
and maintaining his Empire. He was ardently desirous 
of peace. To the representatives of Serbia, Wallachia, 
and Albania he said : " Forget not to tell your masters 
that I grant peace to all, and that peace I will accept 
from all. May God be against the breakers of peace." 

He kept on the best of terms with the Greek Emperor, 


with whom he had made a defensive alliance, and restored 
to him certain cities on the coast of the Black Sea and in 
Thessaly. He had frequent causes, however, for the use 
of his army, and for showing his skill as a general. He 
compelled the Emirs of Karamania, Kermia, and other 
principalities in Asia Minor, who had promised allegiance 
to Timur, to renew their vassalage to the Ottoman Empire. 
Two or three times the Karamlanian prince revolted and 
endeavoured to assert complete independence. As often 
Mahomet defeated him, but contented himself with assert- 
ing supremacy, and did not insist upon the incorporation of 
his territory with the Empire. He also defeated an attempt 
of a Turkish upstart to create an independent State at 
Smyrna and Aidin. He put down a dangerous revolt of 
Dervishes and extinguished the sect. He camfe into con- 
flict at sea with the Republic of Venice, and though he 
was worsted, and his fleet of galleys was destroyed, Ihe 
succeeded in making an hori|ourable peace. 

As a ruler of his Empire he showed many great quali- 
ties. He gained the appellation which is best translated 
into English as the ** Great Gentleman *'— and right well 
he deserved it. He was magnanimous and just. He 
strictly observed his promises. He knew that his Empire 
could not be maintained by force alone, but that justice and 
clemency were necessary. His Christian subjects were every- 
where treated with consideration. He would not tolerate 
cruelty to them. He was a liberal patron of literature, 
and in his short reign the Ottomans first showed a bent 
for poetry. It was a blot on his fame that he caused his 
youngest brother to be deprived of his sight, and that he 
put to death his nephew, the son of Solyman, lest either of 
them should dispute the throne with himself or his son after 
him. His experience of his brothers and the history of 
his family doiubtless convinced him that no member of 
the Othman race would be content with any position short 
of the Sultanate. This m'ay not be a moral justification, 
but it is an explanation which, in view of the ethics of 
the times, must prevent too severe a judg*mlent. Though 
Mahomet in his short reign, after attaining full commland 
of the Empire, made no extension of it, he must be re- 
garded practically as one of its founders and as among 
its most eminent and successful rulers. He owed his 
success over his brothers to his moral ascendancy and to 


the great reputation which he achieved with his troops 
for his higli qualities as a ruler even more than to his 
prowess as a general. The emetgience of the Empire 
from the extreme difficulties into which it fell from the 
Mongolian invasion must have been due to the fact that 
the Ottomans at that time were much superior to the 
Greeks and the other Christian communities in all the 
qualities which tend to make a stable government. 

Mahomet died of apoplexy in 1421 at the early age of 
forty-seven. He was buried at Brusa in a mausoleum near 
to the splendid building known as the Green Mosque, 
which he had himself erected. 




MuRAD succeeded his father in the Sultanate as second 
of the name. He reigned for thirty years, including two 
short periods when he abdicated and retired into private 
life. But on each occasion he was compelled by the 
exigencies of the State, and the youth and inexperience 
of his son and successor, to resume the throne. He much 
resembled his father in vigour and capacity as a general 
and in his desire to act justly. 

At the very commencement of Murad's reign the Greek 
Emperor Manuel, by an almost incredible act of folly, 
hoping to take advantage of Murad's youth and inexperi- 
ence, let loose from confinement a man who claimed, 
whether rightly or not was never clearly established, to 
be Mustapha, the son of Sultan Bayezid, who had dis- 
appeared after the battle of Angora. Manuel entered into 
a treaty with this claimant to the Ottoman throne, by which, 
in the event of his succeeding in establishing his succes- 
sion, the city of Gallipoli and all the cities on the shores 
of the Black Sea, taken from the Greek Empire by the 
Turks, were to be restored to it. 

In spite of this scandalous treachery to Islam', the so- 
called Mustapha succeeded in raising a large army in 
Europe, with which he defeated the troops who adhered 
to Murad. He then crossed the Dardanelles into Asia 
with his army in vessels supplied by the Emperor Manuel. 
Murad showed all the vigour and capacity of his race in 
dealing with this emergency. He won over the greater 
part of Mustapha 's army, who were disaffected. He defeated 
what remained. Mustapha was driven across the Straits 
again to Gallipoli, where he was besieged, captured, and 



hanged, as the best proof, it was said, that he was an 

M;urad, having defeated this claimant to his throne, 
determined to avenge the perfidy of the Emperor Manuel 
and to put an end to the Greek Empire by the capture of 
Constantinople. For this purpose he collected an army 
of veterans. He invested the city^ making a long line of 
great earthworks from the Golden Horn to the Sea of 
Marmora. From this he bombarded the city walls by 
cannon, then for the first time used by the Ottoman army, 
but which were not as yet very effective. He also used 
movable towers, from which assaults could be made on the 
walls of the city. He proclaimed that the great wealth of 
the capital would be the prize of the soldiers if the assault 
on it were successful. He ^ made a special promise to 
a band of five hundred Dervishes, who were to lead the 
assault, that all the nuns in the city would be given to 
them as concubines. In spite of these great inducements 
to victory, the assault was unsuccessful. The Greeks de- 
fended the walls of the city with the utmost heroism, 
assisted, it was said, by a timely apparition of the Floly 
Virgin, which stimulated their efforts and depressed the 
assailants. Murad would probably have been successful 
with the overwhelming forces at his disposal if he had 
persisted in the siege, but he was compelled to raise it 
by a diversion cleverly contrived by the Greek Em'peror. 

A rival to the Sultan was set up in Asia in another 
Mustapha, a younger brother of Murad, who had not been 
put to death in pursuance of the fratricidal policy of his 
family. This new claimant was supported by the Kara- 
manians and Kermians, and with their aid he defeated 
an Ottoman army in Asia Minor. Murad found it neces- 
sary to abandon the siege of Constantinople, and to transfer 
his main army to Asia Minor for the purpose of dealing 
with this danger to his throne. He came to close quarters 
as quickly as possible with Mustapha's army, and defeated 
it. Mustapha was taken prisoner and was hanged at once 
by his captors, without giving an opportunity to Murad 
to exercise his clemency in favour of his brother, had 
he so willed it. Murad then occupied himself by reducing 
the Karamanian and other Emirs to complete subjection 
to his Empire. 

Meanwhile the Emperor Manuel died, and was succeeded 



by John Palseologus . Murad, in lieu of renewing the 
siege of Constantinople, was content to make another treaty 
with the new Emperor, imposing on him a heavy tribute and 
stripping him of almost every possession beyond the walls 
of his capital. The Empire thus obtained a reprieve for 
a few brief years. 

In the case of Salonika, which had been recently sold 
by the Greek Emperor to the Republic of Venice, now 
desirous of effecting' a lodgment in Macedonia, Murad 
refused to recognize the right of the Emiperor to transfer 
to a foreign Power a city which at one time had been 
under Ottoman rule. It had three times in the last hundred 
years bfeen captured by the Ottom^s, and had as often 
been recaptured by the Greeks. Murad led an army, in 
1430, to attack it, and, after a vigorous resistance by 
the Venetians, captured it by assault, and finally annexed 
the city and its district to the Turkish Empire. It 
was thought that Murad showed great clemency in not 
allowing his soldiers to indulge in a wholesale massacre. 
The Greek inhabitants, however, were sold into slavery, 
and their numbers were so great that a good-looking girl 
was sold for the price of a pair of boots. 

The suppression of rebellion in Asia Minor, the sub- 
jection of the Greek Emperor to the position of a humble 
vassal, and the capture of Salonika had occupied Murad 
for some years. Later he was involved in long struggles 
with his neighbours, the Hungarians, on the northern 
boundaries of his Empire. The Ottomans were engaged 
in constant raids across the Danube, where vast districts 
were devastated, and thousands of their population were 
carried off as captives for sale as slaves. There arose 
about this time in Hungary a national hero, the celebrated 
Hunyadi, a natural son of the late King Sigismlmd. He 
was a born leader of men, not a great general, bUjt a most 
valiant fighter. He had gained great distinction in war 
in other directions. He now became the soul of hostility 
against the Ottomans . He was known as the Whke Knight, 
on account of his silver armour, which always shone in 
the Van of the impetuous charges of his cavalry. He was 
rightly regarded by his countrymen as a patriot and a 
national hero. None the less, he was a bloodthirsty ruffian. 
He made a practice of massacring all the prisoners taken in 
battle. He found pleasure in havingi this effected, in his 


presePxCe, at banquets, where the guests were entertained 
by the shrieks of the dying men. 

Hunyadi for twenty years was a terror to the Ottoman 
armies. His first encounter with them was at Herman- 
stadt, north of the Danube, which was invested by an 
army of eighty thousand Ottomans. He led an army of 
twenty thousand Hungarians against them, in relief of the 
fortress, and inflicted a severe defeat on them, in despite 
of great disparity of numbers. Twenty thousand of 
the Ottomians were killed, including the general. The 
others were dispersed. Murad sent another army of eighty 
thousand men against him, under another Pasha. Hunyadi 
again defeated it with great slaughter at Varsag. 

These notable victories roused great enthusiasm in 
Europe. It was determined to take the offensive against the 
Ottomans, and to make another effort to drive them out 
of Europe . A coalition w^s formed for the purpose between 
Hungary and Poland, then united under King Ladislaus, 
and Wallachia and Bosnia. Serbia, which under its king, 
Stephen Lazariwitch, had been the firm ally of the 
Ottomans, and had supported them in many campaigns 
in Asia and Europe, was now induced to abandon this 
alliance and, under Stephen's successor, George Branco- 
witch, to join the confederacy against the Ottomans. 
The Pope, Eugenius, was most active in support of this 
combination. His legate, Cardinal Julian Cesarini, led an 
armed force in support of it. Money was raised for the 
purpose of the war by a great sale of indulgences to the 
faithful in every part of Europe. A large contingent of 
French and German knights joined the allied army. It 
was, in fact, another crusade, prompted by religious zeal 
on behalf of Christianity against Islam. The allied army 
was under the nominal command of Ladislaus, but Hunyadi 
was its real leader. 

The Republics of V^enice and Genoa gave their support, 
and as, at this time, the Ottomans had no naval force, it 
was hoped that these Powers, by means of their numerous 
and powerful galleys, would prevent the transfer to Europe 
of Murad '3 main army, which was again engaged in conflict 
with the Karamanians in Asia Minor. 

The allied army, under these favourable circumstances, 
crossed the Danube in 1443. It defeated an Ottoman 
army on the banks of the Masova and again at Nisch. 


It then crossed the Balkan range in winter — an operation 
of extreme difficulty, which has since only twice been 
effected, by General Diebitsch and General Gourko — and 
again defeated the Turks in a battle at the foot of 
these mountains. Strange to say, instead of marching 
onwards to Adrianople, as Diebitsch did in 1829, Hunyadi 
was content with the laurels already achieved, and returned 
with his ai'my to Buda, where he displayed his trophies 
and received a triumph. 

Murad, on hearing of the retreat of the Hungarians across 
the Balkans, determined to come to terms with them, and 
not to pursue them again across the Danube. With some 
difficulty, and in spite of the sullen opposition of Cardinal 
Julian and the French contingent, a treaty was agreed to, 
at Sze'geddin, with Ladislaus, by, which Serbia was to be 
freed from dependence on the Ottoman Empire and 
Wallachia was to be ceded to Hungary. The treaty was 
to be in force for ten years. It was solemnly sworn 
to on the Gospel and the Koran by Ladislaus and 

While this treaty was being negotiated Murad, Weary 
of war, and desirous of spending the remainder of his life 
in sensual enjoyments which had so long been denied to 
him, decided to abdicate his throne. He was still in the 
full vigour of life at the age of forty -one, though he was 
said to be growing rather fat. He did not propose, like 
the Emperor Charles V, to retire to a monastery, but rather, 
like Diocletian the Roman Emperor, to a luxurious palace, 
surrounded by beautiful gardens, which he had prepared 
for his retreat at Magnesia. On the ratification of the 
treaty of Szegeddin, in 1444, he carried out this purpose, 
and his son Mahomet, at the age of fourteen, was 
proclaimed Sultan in his place. 

When this became known to the Hungarians a revulsion of 
opinion took place against the recent treaty with the Turks. 
The Hungarian Diet determined, at the instance of Cardinal 
Julian, backed up by the Pope, to break the treaty. News 
had arrived of a fresh outbreak of the Karamanians. The 
fleets of Genoa, Venice, and Burgundy were masters of 
the Hellespont and would, it was believed, prevent the 
Ottonlan army in Asia Minor from' crossing into Europe. 
The opportunity for crushing the Turks and driving them 
out of Europe seem^ed to be most favourable. 


Is it now [said Cardinal Julian to the Hungarian Diet] that you will 
desert expectations and your own fortunes ? Is it to your God and your 
fellow-Christians that you have pledged your faith ? That prior obligation 
annihilates a rash and sacrilegious oath to the enemies of Christ. His 
vicar on earth is the Roman Pontiff, without whose sanction you can 
neither promise nor perform. In his name I absolve your perjury and 
sanctify your arms. Follow my footsteps in the path of glory and salva- 
tion ; and, if you still have scruples, devolve on my head the punishment 
and the sin. 

" This mischievous casuistry," says the historian Gibbon, 
** was seconded by his respectable character and the levity 
of popular assemblies." The Hungarian Diet resolved on 
war, and King Ladislaus, in spite of his recent oath, deter- 
mined to break the treaty. Hunyadi was, in the first 
instance, strongly opposed to this, but his assent was 
obtained by the promise of the throne of Bulgaria, in 
the event of the defeat of the Ottomans and the conquest 
of that province. The Prince of Serbia, who had regained 
his independence by the treaty, was persuaded to join 
with tlie allies by the promise of an addition to his 
kingdom . 

It was decided to send an army at once against the 
Ottomans. But it was a much reduced one in comparison 
with that which had so recently crossed the Balkans. Most 
of the French and German knights and their attendants 
had already gone home. Not more than ten thousand 
remained under Hunyadi. They were joined by five 
thousand Wallachians. They invaded Bulgaria, and then, 
instead of crossing the Balkans, descended the Danube 
to the coast and thence marched to Varna. Meanwhile 
the Ottomans, in great alarm and fearing the incom'petence 
of the young Mahomet to conduct a great war, induced 
Murad to emerge again from his retreat. He hastily 
gathered together an army in Asia Minor. He bribed the 
Genoese, at the rate of a ducat for each man, to convey 
it across the Hellespont. He arrived in front of Varna 
unexpectedly, before the Christian army knew of his inten- 
tions. His army greatly outnumbered that of King Ladis- 
laus. In spite of this, the two wings of it were driven 
back with great slaughter. Murad, in command of the 
centre of his army, for the moment and for the only time 
in his life, lost his presence of mind and was disposed 
to fly. But the Beglerbey of Anatolia laid hold of the 


bridle of his horse and urged him to fight it out. The 
battle was renewed. The Janissaries stood firm and 
successfully repulsed the main body of the Christians. 
Ladislaus was unhorsed and asked for quarter. But he 
was put to death on the field. His head was stuck upon 
a lance and was held up by the side of another lance 
which bore on high a copy of the violated treaty. The 
Christians, when they saw the head of their dead king 
in its soldier's helmet thus held aloft, were struck with 
panic and fled precipitately. Hunyadi escaped with diffi- 
culty. Cardinal Julian expiated by death on the field his 
sin in advising the breach of the treaty. Two other bishops 
shared his fate. Never was defeat and disaster more richly 
deserved. Two -thirds of the Christian army were slain 
in the battle, and even greater members, though a less 
proportion, of the Ottomans shared their fate. 

Murad, having won this great victory, again, a second 
time, abdicated his throne and returned to his retreat at 
Magnesia, and again the young Mahomet was invested as 
Sultan. Though history supplies cases of great kings 
seeking retiremient from [the cares of ofi(ice_, and of some of 
them being induced to resume their thrones, it records no 
other case of a second abdication and a second resump- 
tion. Murad was very soon recalled from his abode of 
pleasure. A serious outbreak of the Janissaries occurred 
at Adrianople . They ravaged the city and committed great 
atrocities. The ministers of the young Sultan were greatly 
alarmed. They felt that only a strong hand could keep 
a check on the unruly Janissaries, Murad was again sum- 
moned from his retreat. The young Mahomet was induced 
to go on a hunting expedition. In his absence Murad 
again made his appearance at Adrianople and resumed 
power. Mahomet, on his return from hunting, found that his 
father was again in the saddle. Murad was received by his 
troops with a jgreat ovation, and even the unruly Janissaries 
gave in their submission to him. He did not again seek 
retirement at Magnesia. He reigned for seven more years 
— another period of almost incessant war. He first made 
an invasion of the Morea, which the Greek Emperor's 
brothers had divided between them and governed as petty 
princes, or despots, as they were called. Murad had no 
difficulty in storming and capturing the fortification by 
which the isthmus of Corinth was defended. He com- 


pelled the two despots to accept the position of vassals 
under the Empire. 

Murad then again turned his attention to Serbia and 
Hungary. He defeated the combined forces of Hungary, 
Serbia, and Bosnia, under Hunyadi, on the field of Kossova, 
where in 1389 Murad I had first subdued the Serbians. 
As a resuh ,of this great battle Serbia lost its independence 
and was finally incorporated as an integral part of the 
Ottoman Empire. Bosnia became a tributary State. 

Murad was less fortunate in his efforts to subdue the 
Albanians. These people were under the leadership of 
George Castriota — commonly called Scanderbeg — who had 
been brought up at Murad's Court as a Mussulman, and had 
learned the art of war from him, but who had abjured 
Islam_, with a view to leadership of the Albanians. He 
carried on a guerrilla war against the Ottoman invaders 
with great success, and Murad was unable to com'plete 
the conquest of the State. This was practically the only 
failure of Murad's adventurous life. His generals met 
with many defeats at the hand of Hunyadi, but Murad 
retrieved them in the two battles in which he came in 
conflict with the great Hungarian hero. He died of 
apoplexy in 145 i. 

Looking back at his career, it does not appear that he 
made war with ambitious objects to aggrandize his Empire. 
War was, in almost every case, forced upon him. Three 
times the Prince of Karamania declared war against him, 
and three times Murad defeated him, and was content 
with insisting on the vassalage of the province and not 
on its extinction and incorporation with the Empire. It 
has been shown how perfidious was the conduct of the Greek 
Emperor, and how^ fully justified Murad was in reducing 
his territory to the narrowest limits. Murad's attack on 
Salonika when in the hands of the Venetian Republic was 
equally justified, for the Greek Emperor had no right to 
sell it, and thus invite a foreigti Power to make a lodgment 
there. The wars on the northern frontier were forced 
upon him by the Hungarians and the Christian Powers 
in alliance with them. They appealed to arms, and victory 
decided against them. It will be seen that as a net result 
of Murad's reign the Ottoman Empire was extended during 
these thirty years by the acquisition of many petty princi- 
palities in Asia Minor, by the complete subjection of Serbia 


and Bosnia, the conquest of Salonika and its district, and 
by the conversion of the IV^orea into a tributary State. It 
was, however, reduced by the loss of Wallachia as a vassal 

Gibbon, quotingi from a Turkish historian, says : — 

Murad was a just and valiant prince, of a great soul ; patient of labour, 
learned, merciful, religious, charitable ; a lover and encourager of the 
studious and of all who excelled in any art or science. No man obtained 
more or greater victories. Belgrade alone withstood his attacks. Under 
his reign the soldier was ever victorious, the citizen rich and secure. If he 
subdued any country, his first care was to build mosques and caravansaries, 
hospitals, and colleges. 

Though, more suo, Gibbon suggests doubts whether 
such praise could be justified in the case of a Sultan 
" whose virtues are often the vices most useful to himself 
or most ag^reeable to his subjects," he admits that 

the justice and moderation of Murad are attested by his conduct and 
acknowledged by Christians themselves, who consider a prosperous reign 
and a peaceful death as the reward of his singular merits. In the vigour 
of his age and military power he seldom engaged in war till he was 
justified by a previous and adequate provocation. In the observance 
of treaties his word was inviolate and sacred.' 

* Gibbon, viii. p. 242. 



If Mahomet, the eldest son of Murad, at the age of fourteen, 
had been reckoned too feeble to cope with the emergencies 
of the State, it is very certain that he soon made wonder- 
fully rapid progress. At the age of twenty -one, when he 
again mounted the throne on, the death of his father, he was 
amply, and almost precociously, endowed with many of the 
best, and many also of the worst, qualities of an autocrat, 
and was quite able alone to take command of the State. 
He was undoubtedly the ablest man that the house of 
Othman had as yet produced, not only as a general, but 
as a statesman. He had also great intellectual capacity 
and literary attainments. He spoke five languages fluently. 
He was the most proud and ambitious of his race and the 
most persistent in pursuing his aims. He combined with 
these high qualities, however, extreme cruelty and perfidy 
and sensuality of the grossest and vilest kind. He differed 
from his predecessors in his craving for absolute power, 
free from control by his ministers, and in his reckless 
disregard of human life. Hitherto, from Othman to 
Murad II, the Sultans had been in intimate association with 
their viziers and generals, and had shared their meals with 
them. They were accessible to their subjects, high and low. 
Mahomet was very different. He was the true despot after 
the Oriental fashion. He held himself aloof. He took his 
meals alone. He made no confidants. He treated his 
viziers and pashas as though they were his slaves. He 
had no regard for their lives. There were men in his 
personal service who were adepts at striking off heads by 
single blows of their scimitars. Two at least of Mahomet's 
Grand Viziers were put to death in this way in his presence 



without warning or compunction. This levelling process 
was not apparently objected to by his subjects. 

On hearing at Magnesia of the death of his father, 
Mahomet, who was eager to resume power, mounted at once 
an Arab horse, and exclaiming, '* Let all who love me 
follow^ ! " he rode to the Hellespont, and thence crossed to 
Gallipoli and made his way to Adrianople. He was there 
again acclaimed as Sultan, not, however, without having to 
submit to onerous presents to the Janissaries, a bad prece- 
dent which was later always followed on the accession of a 
Sultan. The first act of his reign was to direct that his 
brother, an infant son of Murad, by his latest wife, a Serbian 
princess, should be put to death. He feared that the child, 
when grown up, might dispute the throne with him, on the 
ground that its mother was a legitimate wife of royal descent, 
while he himself (Mahomet) was only the son of a slave. A 
high officer of the Court was directed to drown the child in 
a bath. This was effected at the very moment when the 
mother was engaged in offering her congratulations to the 
new Sultan on his accession. The foul deed created a very 
bad impression, and Mahomet found it expedient to disown 
the act. He did so by directing the execution of the officer 
who had carried out his order. He compelled the mother, 
in spite of her royal rank, to marry a slave, an outrageous 
insult to the Serbian prince and to the memory of his father. 

From the earliest moment of his accession it became 
clear that Mahomet intended to signalize his reign by the 
capture of Constantinople. With this view, he came to 
terms for a three years' truce with Hunyadi and the Hun- 
garians. He chastised and then gave easy terms to the 
Karamanians, and accepted as a wife the daughter of their 
prince. He sent an army to the Peloponnesus to prevent 
the two brothers of the Greek Emperor, who were rulinjg^ 
there, from lending their aid to the Greeks of Constantinople. 
He directed the erection of a great fortress on the European 
side of the Bosphorus, at its narrowest point opposite to 
another, which had been erected by Bayezid, very near to 
the capital, so as to command the Straits. When the Greek 
Emperor sent an envoy to protest against this, Mahomet 
replied : — 

I make no threats against your city. By assuring the safety of my 
country I am not infringing any treaty. Have you forgotten the 


extremity to which my father was reduced when your Emperor, in league 
with the Hungarians, endeavoured to prevent his crossing to Europe by 
closing the Straits against him ? Murad was compelled to ask for the 
assistance of the Genoese. I was at Adrianople at the time and was 
very young. The Mussulmans were in great alarm and you Greeks 
insulted them. My father took an oath at the battle of Varna to erect a 
fort on the European side. This oath I will fulfil. Have you the right or 
the power to prevent my doing what I wish on my own territory ? The 
two sides of the Straits are mine — that of Asia Minor because it is peopled 
by Ottomans, that of Europe because you are unable to defend it. Tell 
your master that the Sultan who now reigns in no way resembles his 
predecessors. My power goes beyond their vows. I permit you now to 
withdraw, but in the future I will have flayed alive those who bring me 
such messages.' 

No more envoys were sent to him after this by the Greeks. 
Their Emperor, Constantine — the last of his line — had suc- 
ceeded his brother three years before the accession .of 
Mahomet. He was a brave and conscientious prince, who 
gave lustre to the last days of the Empire. But he was most 
unwise and provocative in his conduct to the new Sultan, 
evidently under the belief that he had to deal with the 
inexperienced youth who had been displaced by Murad 
six years previously. He threatened to let loose, as a rival 
claimant to the Ottoman throne, Orkhan, a grandson of 
Bayezid, who was under his charge, if a larger allowance 
was not given for his maintenance. Mahomet contemptu- 
ously rejected the claim. The Grand Vizier, Khalil, who 
was suspected of being in the pay of the Greeks, warned 
the Emperor of his extreme folly. " Your madness," he 
said to the Greek ambassador, " will put Constantinople 
in the hands of the Sultan. Proclaim Orkhan Sultan in 
Europe, call in the Hungarians to your aid, retake what 
provinces you can, and you will speedily see the end of the 
Greek Empire." 

The new fortress was completed in the autumn of 1452. 
It was then seen that, in combination with the fortress on 
the opposite shore, it gave complete command of the Straits 
to the Ottomans. Venetian vessels which attempted to 
pass were captured and their crews were sawn in halves. 
Mahomet then declared his intention to attack Constan- 
tinople. In an address to his principal pashas, after 
describing the conquests made by his predecessors in 

' Von Hammer, ii. p. 379. 


Europe and Asia, he pointed out that the great barrier to 
further progress was this city and the army of the Emperor. 

The opposition [he said] must be ended ; these barriers must be 
removed. It was for them to complete the work of their fathers. They 
had now against them a single city, one which could not resist their 
attacks ; a city whose population was greatly reduced and whose former 
wealth had been diminished by Turkish sieges, and by the continued 
incursions made by his ancestors upon its territories ; a city which was 
now only one in name, for in reality its buildings were useless and its 
walls abandoned and for the great part in ruins. Even from its weakness, 
however, they knew that from its favourable position, commanding both 
land and sea, it had greatly hindered their progress and could still 
hinder it, opposing their plans and being always ready to attack them. 
Openly or secretly it had done all it could against them. It was the city 
which had brought about the attack by Timerlane and the suffering which 
followed. It had instigated Hunyadi to cross the Danube, and on every 
occasion and in every possible manner had been their great enemy. The 
time had now come when, in his opinion, it should be captured or wiped 
off the face of the earth. One of two things : he would either have it 
within his Empire or he would lose both. With Constantinople in his 
possession, the territories already gained could be safely held and more 
would be obtained ; without it, no territory that they possessed was safe.* 

In the ensuing winter (1452) Mahomet made every pre- 
paration at Adrianople for a campaign in the next year. 
Having no means of casting cannons, which at that time 
were coming into use in European armies, he tempted a 
Wallachian, who was experienced in such work, and \\^ho 
was in the service of the Greeks, to come over to his side 
for higher pay, and devised with him a cannon of enormous 
size, firing stone balls of 2^ feet in diameter, and many 
other smaller, but still large, guns throwing' balls of 150 lb. 
weight, for use against the walls of Constantinople. He 
also constructed a large fleet of war vessels propelled by 
oars, biremes and triremes, to be used in the siege of the 
city. He was most active and eager, working day ,and 
night in concerting plans with his generals for his great 
purpose. Early in the following year (1453) he collected in 
front of the walls of Constantinople an army, estimated at 
a hundred and fifty thousand men, including twelve thousand 
Janissaries, and a vast number of irregulars and camp 
followers eager for the sack of the great city. 

* Sir Edwin Pears, Destruction of the Greek Empire, p. 217. 


Constantine, on his part, was equally engaged in making 
preparations for the defence of his capital. He collected 
supplies of every kind. He did his best to repair and 
strengthen the walls of the city, which had been neglected 
and badly repaired by fraudulent Greek contractors. He 
invited the aid of the Christian princes of Western Europe 
for the coming struggle. In this view, and in the hope of 
getting full support from the Pope, he agreed to a scheme 
of union between the Greek and Latin Churches, in which 
everything was conceded to the latter. A great service 
was held at St. Sophia to ratify this union. Cardinal 
Isidore, the legate of the Pope, a Greek by birth, presided. 
It was attended by the Emperor and all his Court, clergy, 
and the officers of State. This gave great offence to the 
main body of the Greek clergy, and to the great majority 
of the people of Constantinople. There was implacable 
hatred between the members of the two Churches, and not 
even the grave peril of the State could induce them to com- 
pose their differences. St. Sophia was deserted by its 
congregation. It was thought to be polluted by the service. > 
The Grand Duke Notaras, the second person in tTie State 
after the Emperor, in command of all the forces, was 
specially offended. He even went the length of saying 
in public that he would rather see the turban of the Turks 
at Constantinople than the hat of a cardinal. It resulted 
that the Greeks wene divided into two parties. Priests 
refused to give the sacrament to dying men not of their 
party. The Churches refused to contribute out of their 
vast wealth to necessities of the State. Constantine was 
seriously embarrassed and weakened by the division among 
his people. Of a total population of the city, reduced 
as it was, as compared with the past, and estimated at 
a hundred thousand, not more than six thousand took up 
arms in support of Constantine against the Turks. 

The appeals to the Western Powers resulted in a certain, 
but very insufficient, number of volunteers from Southern 
Europe giving their services to support the Greek cause 
in its final struggle with the Moslems. Seven hundred 
Genoese came under the command of Giustiniani, an able 

* The four pages which Gibbon devotes to a description of this 
attempted union of the two Churches are masterpieces of irony and scorn 
(Gibbon, viii. pp. 287-91). 


soldier of fortune, who proved to be the main support of 
Constantine. Others had come with Cardinal Isidore, at the 
instance of the Pope, and with some small amount of money 
from the same quarter. There were Catalans and Aragonese 
from Spain, but the number of these recruits from Western 
Europe did not exceed three thousand. The total force 
under the command of Constantine for the defence of the city 
amounted to no more than eight thousand. It is strange 
that there were no volunteers from France and Germany, 
or from Hungary and Poland, from whence so many 
crusaders had volunteered in previous years to drive the 
Turks out of Europe. Nor was there any valid assistance 
in men and money from the numerous Greeks in the Levant. 
The unfortunate Constantine was not only very deficient 
in men, but his resources in money were very low. He 
had, however, in his service twenty powerful galleys well 
manned, and three gialleys had come from Venice. 

It would seem that the cause of Constantine did not much 
interest Europe, and did not even meet with an effective 
support among the Greeks themselves. 

The city of Constantinople, as it then existed, was situate 
between the Golden Horn, its great harbour, and the sea of 
Marmora. Its land frontage, distant about nine miles from 
the entrance to the harbour, was four miles in length. It 
was protected by a triple line of walls, the two inner ;of 
which were very massive, flanked by towers at distances of 
170 feet. There was a space of 60 feet between these 
walls. The third and outer wall was a crenelated breastwork 
on the other side of a fosse, of a width of 60 feet. This 
powerful line of defence had been devised by the Emperor 
Theodosius 11 about a thousand years ago and had protected 
the city in twenty sieges. Before the invention of cannon it 
was practically impregnable. ^ There were also fortifica- 
tions extending for about nine miles on the side of the 
Golden Horn. The eight thousand men were too few even 
for effective defence of the four miles of walls, which were 
to be attacked directly by the Ottoman army, to say nothing 
of the fortifications along the side of the Golden Horn. 
The defence, however, with these limited means, was a 

' The writer, in i8go, had the advantage of viewing what remained of 
these walls in the company of Sir Edwin Pears, who has fully described 
them in his admirable account of the great siege. 


spirited one. It showed that if the Greek Emperor had 
been adequately supported by the Western Powers Mahomet 
might not have been able to capture the city. 

The siege was commenced by Mahomet on April 6, 
1453. Much time had been occupied in conveying the 
cannon from Adrianople. There were two very interesting 
incidents in the siege which are worth recording. The one 
was the breaking of the close blockade of the port by four 
powerful and well -manned Genoese galleys, bringing pro- 
visions and stores to the beleaguered city from Chios. They 
sailed across the Marmora and up the Bosphorus with a 
strong breeze in their favour. The Sultan sent against 
them a hundred and forty of his fleet of smaller vessels 
propelled by oars. They found great difficulty in stemming 
the heavy sea. The four larger Genoese vessels came down 
on the smaller craft, crashing against them and shivering 
their oars. Their crews hurled big stones on the Turkish 
galleys and emitted against others the inextinguishable fire 
of which the Greeks had the secret. The Turkish boats 
could make no headway against the superior weight of the 
bigger vessels. A large number of them were sunk with 
serious loss of life. When near to the entrance of the 
harbour the wind died off and the Genoese vessels were 
in imminent peril, surrounded as they were by the numerous 
Turkish craft. But at the last moment an evening breeze 
sprang up. The Genoese vessels were able to force their 
way through. The chain which prevented ingress to the 
harbour was lowered, and the relieving vessels were admitted. 

The Sultan had watched the naval battle from the shore. 
He spurred his horse some distance into the shallow sea 
in the hope of animating his sailors to greater efforts. He 
was bitterly disappointed at this first engagement of his new 
fleet. The next morning he sent for the admiral, Balta 
Oghli, a sturdy Bulgarian by birth, and bitterly reproached 
him for his failure. He directed the admiral to be laid 
on the ground and held there by four strong men, while he 
was bastinadoed. Some historians state that the Sultan 
himself belaboured the unfortunate admiral with his mace. 

The other incident, growing out of the naval defeat, 
was that Mahomet, on finding that his small craft, pro- 
pelled only by oars, were of little effect against the powerful 
vessels at the disposal of the Greeks, determined to transfer 
a large number of them from the Bosphorus to the upper 


part of the harbour, where the bigger vessels could 
not engage them, owing to the shallow depth of water, 
and where they would be of use against the inner defence 
of the city. For this purpose Mahomet directed the con- 
struction of a broad plank road from Tophane, on the 
Bosphorus, across the hill intervening betwieen it and the 
head of the Golden Horn. This road was well greased with 
tallow, and the vessels were dragged up it with wind- 
lasses and oxen. The descent on the other side of the 
hill was easy enough. The scheme was not quite a novelty, 
as an operation of the same kind, though on a smaller scale, 
had been attempted elsewhere. It was carried out with 
striking success ; and in one night eighty of the Turkish 
galleys were transferred in this way to the uppier harbour. 
Mahomet also constructed a pontoon bridge across the 
harbour, on which batteries were erected. The two schemes 
together enabled him to attack the Greek defences along 
the line of the harbour, and compelled Constantine to 
withdraw many men from the defence of the landward 
waUs, where the main attack was made. 

The young Sultan took a most active part in the 'siege 
work. He traced the lines of fourteen batteries from' which 
the walls were bombarded. The first g'reat cannon was 
a failure. It burst at the first shot and blew to pieces 
the Wallachian who had cast it. It was recast, however, 
and two others of the same size were also cast. About two 
hundred smaller guns were used. They threw stone balls * 
against the walls and towers of the city, and ultimately 
succeeded in effecting a breach. There can be no doubt 
that the capture of the city was mainly dfue to the provision 
of these great guns, which were far above anything pre- 
viously used against fortresses. The Greeks also used 
cannons in defence, but the parapets of the walls were 
not wide enough to allow of the recoil of the guns, and 
where it was possible to use them the walls suffered from 
the concussion. Gunpowder was also deficient. 

After seven weeks of siege the bombardment effected 
breaches in the walls at three points such as to give 
Mahomet every hope of success in a final assault. The 

* Stone balls of considerable size were used by the Turks to defend the 
Dardanelles up to a late date. When in 1855 the writer visited the forts 
there, he; observed that they were still provided for some of the guns. 


principal breach was at St. Romanus, where the outer of 
the two main walls was practically levelled for a length of 
four hundred yards, and four of the flanking towers were 
destroyed. The broad ditch Was filled in part by the 
debris of the wall and in part by fascines. The Sultan 
decided that the assault should take place on May 29th. 
This became known to the Greeks in the city, and both 
sides made every preparation for a supreme effort. 

On the 28th, Mahomet ordered a proclamation to be 
made to his troops, to the effect that when the city was 
captured it would be given up to them to sack at their 
will for three days. The Sultan, it said, had sworn by 
the everlasting God, by the four thousand prophets, by 
Mahomet, and by his own soul that the whole population 
of the city, men, women, and children, should be given 
over to them. This was received by the troops with 
tumultuous expressions of delight. 

On the same day the Sultan reviewed his army in 
three divisions, each of fifty thousand men, and after- 
wards received in his tent all the leaders, military and 
naval. He made a speech to them in which he an- 
nounced his intention to make a final assault on the 
city on the next day, explained to them the method 
of attack, and gave his final orders. He enlarged on 
his promise to give to the troops the plunder of the city. 

In the city [he said] there was an infinite amount and variety of wealth 
of all kinds — treasure in the palaces and private houses, churches 
abounding in furniture of silver, gold, and precious stones. All were 
to be theirs. There were men of high rank and in great numbers who 
could be captured and sold as slaves ; there were great numbers of ladies 
of noble families, young and beautiful, and a host of other women who 
could either be sold or taken into their harems. There were boys of 
good family. There were houses and beautiful gardens. " I give you 
to-day a grand and populous city, the capital of the ancient Romans, the 
very summit of splendour and of glory, which has become, so to say, 
the centre of the world. I give it over to you to pillage, to seize its 
incalculable treasure of men, women, and boys, and everything that 
adorns it. You will henceforward live in great happiness and leave 
great wealth to your children. The great gain to all the sons of Othman 
would be the conquest of a city whose fame was great throughout the 
world. The greater its renown, the greater would be the glory of taking 
it by assault. A great city which had always been their enemy, which 
had always looked upon them with a hostile eye, which in every way had 



sought to destroy the Turkish power, would come into their possession. 
The door would be open to them by its capture to conquer the whole of 
the Greek Empire." * 

We have quoted this speech of Mahomet as further proof 
that plunder and the capture of men, women,, and boys for 
sale or for their harems, and not religious fanaticism, was 
the main incentive to Moslem conquest. 

The night before the assault was spent by the Turks in 
rejoicing. Their camp was illuminated. Very different was 
the action of the Greeks on this last day of their Empire. 
There was a religious procession through the city, in which 
every one whose presence was not required in defence of 
the walls took part and joined in prayer, imploring God 
not to allow them to fall into the hands of the enemy. 
Eikons and relics were paraded. At the close of the 
procession the Emperor Constantine addressed a gathering 
of nobles and military leaders. He called attention to 
the impending assault. He said : — 

It had always been held the duty of a citizen to be ready to die either 
for his faith, his country, his sovereign, or his wife and children. All 
these incentives to heroic sacrifice were now combined. The city was 
the refuge for all Christians, the pride and joy of every Greek, and of all 
who Hved in Eastern lands. It was the Queen of Cities, the city which, 
in happy times, had subdued nearly all the lands under the sun. The 
enemy coveted it as his chief prize. He had provoked the war. He 
had violated all his engagements in order to obtain it. He wished to put 
the citizens under his yoke, to take them as slaves, to convert the holy 
churches, where the divine Trinity was adored and the most holy 
Godhead worshipped, into shrines for his blasphemy, and to put the false 
prophet in the place of Christ. As brothers and fellow-soldiers it was 
their duty to fight bravely in the defence of all that was dear to them, to 
remember that they were the descendants of the heroes of ancient Greece 
and Rome, and so conduct themselves that their memory should be as 
fragrant in the future as that of their ancestors. . . . For himself, he was 
determined to die in its defence. ... He and they should put their trust 
in God, and not, as did their enemy, in the multitude of his hordes. 

In the evening a solemn service w^-S held at St. Sophia, 
memorable as the last Christian setvicei before its con- 
version into a Turkish mosque. The Emperor and his 
followers partook of the Saoraiment and bade farewell to 

' Speech of Mahomet recorded by the historian Christobulus, quoted 
by Sir Edwin Pears, pp. 323-4. 


the Greek Patriarch. It was a memorable scene — a 
requiem service for the Empire which was about to 
expire. Later the Emperor paid a last visit to his palace 
and bade farewell there to its staff. It was a most 
touching occasion. One who was present there wrote of 
it : ** If a man had been made of wiood or stone, he must 
have wept at the scene." It is very certain that the 
Emperor had no hope of saving the city from capture by 
its mortal foes. 

Very early in the morning of the next fateful day, 
the 29th May, 1453, the final assault was delivered by the 
Turkish army. The scheme of the Sultan was to attack the 
walls of the city at many points, from both land and sea, 
but to make the main assault on the part of the wall which 
had been so much injured by the cannon in the Lycus 
Valley, near the gate of St. Roman us, and then, by suc- 
cessive waves of his vastly greater army, to overwhelm 
the defenders, using first his inferior troops, and reserving 
his best for the last attack, when the enemy would be 
wearied by long fighting. The first assault was made 
by an immense horde of irregulars, armed with bows and 
arrows, and with slings throwing stones and iron balls. 
Gunpowder, though already used for cannon, was not yet 
applied to muskets. The men advanced with scaling- 
ladders for the assault, and a cloud of arrows darkened 
the sky. No more than two thousand Greeks could be 
spared to defend this part of the long line of fortifica- 
tions. They were collected in the peribolus betw;een the 
two walls. The gates in the inner wall were closed, so that 
these men had no opportunity of shirking the defence and 
retreating into the city. They had to fight for their very 
lives between the two walls. 

The Sultan directed the great cannon to be brought 
to the edge of the fosse, and a shot from it broke down 
the stockade which had been erected in place of the 
outer wall. Under cover of the dust the Turks made 
the assault. They were bravely met by the defenders, 
and were driven back with heavy loss. A second assault 
was then made by the Anatolian infantry, a very superior 
force to the irregulars. But they were no more successful. 
The Sultan, thinking that the Greeks must be exhausted 
l^y these two assaults, then personally led a third 'great 
body of men to a third assault. It consisted of his 


Janissaries. He led them to the ed'g'e of the fosse, and 
thence directed their attack. The cannon was used again 
against the stockade, and again under cover of the dust 
caused by it the Janissaries mjade their assault. Some of 
them succeeded in getting over the stockade, and a hand- 
to-hand fight occurred between them and the Greeks. The 
defenders seemed to have the best of it. But at this crisis 
a grave misfortune occurred to the Greeks. Giustiniani, 
who commanded them, was severely wounded. Blood 
flowed freely from his wounds. He decided to leave the 
field of battle and return to his ship in the harbour, for 
medical relief. The Emperor Constantine, who was near 
by, in vain implored him to remain, pointing out to him 
the damaging effect his departure would have on the 
soldiers who remained. Others thought that the wounds 
were not very serious and that the general was not justified 
in leaving the field. But he insisted on doing so, and 
demanded the key of the gate in the inner wall. With 
him departed some of his Genoese soldiers. This defection 
caused dismay and depression among the troops. Their 
resistance to the Turks slackened. 

Some Greek historians accuse Giustiniani of cowardice 
in deserting the battle at so critical a momient, and Gibbon 
lends the weight of his great authority to this. The reputa- 
tion, however, of the famous Italian soldier has been vindi- 
cated by later historians, such as Mr. Finlay and Sir 
Edwin Pears. They have shown that Giustiniani died of 
his wounds within a few days of the capture of Constanti- 
nople, the best proof of their serious and fatal charactef. 
All the same, he may not have sufficiently appreciated the 
effect of his withdrawal on the soldiers. It might have 
been better to have died there rather than on board his 
ship. However that might have been, all are agireed that 
the departure of the general was the turning -ix)int of the 
day, and that it had the worst effect on the soldiers engaged 
in the defence. 

The Emperor did his utmost to retrieve the position. 
He took upon himself the chai'gte vacated by Giustiniani, 
and led the defence. Mahomet, on his part, had observed 
from the other side of the fosse the slackening of the 
defence. He called oiut to the Janissaries : " We have 
the city ! It is ours I The wall is undefended! " He 
urged theln to a final eaoj:t. They rushed the stockade 


and effected an entry into the peribolus. Soon g^reat swarms 
of others followed, and overwhelmed the defenders with 
their vast numbers. The Emperor, despairing of success, 
threw aside his imperial mantle. He called out, " The 
city is taken and I am still alive I " Drawing his sword, 
he threw himself into the melee. He died fighting 
gloriously for his city and his Empire. His body was 
never found, though search was made for it by order of 
the Sultan. The Greek and Italian soldiers in the peribatus 
were now completely outnumbered. There was no exit 
through the inner wall by which they could escape. They 
were in a trap between the two walls. They were 
massacred to a man. The Janissaries, having effected this, 
found no difficulty in making their way through the inner 
wall, which, as we have explained, was not defended owing* 
to the want of men. 

All attacks on other parts of the city were failures. 
This one alone succeeded. Victory here was due in part 
to the good generalship of Mahomet and to his indomitable 
persistency, and in part to the ill -fortune of the Greeks 
in the withdrawal of Giustiniani at the critical moment of 
the defence. The defenders of the city had nobly per- 
formed their duty. Their numbers were quite insufficient. 
They had received no adequate support from Western 
Europe, or even from the neighbouring Christian States. 
It is quite certain that a few thousand more soldiers would 
have saved the city. Thirty galleys sent by the Pope 
with reinforcements were on their way when the city 
fell. They had been detained at Scio by adverse wind. 
** Auxilium deus ipse negavit," says the Greek historian. 

When the Turks entered the city they began to massacre 
all the persons they inet in the streets, without distinction 
of lage or sex. But there was piracticall}^ no, resistance. 
There Were no armed men left in the city. The popu- 
lation was cowed and panic-stricken, as well they might 
he in face of the overwhelming misfortune which now 
came upon them. After a short period of massacre the 
Turks turned their attention to the more practical business 
of looting and taking captives for sale. They effected 
this in a deliberate and systematic way. One great band 
of soldiers devoted themselves to plundering the palaces of 
the wealthy, another to the churches, and a third to 
the shops and smaller houses. Everything of value was 


gathered together for subsequent division among the 
soldiers. Of the inmates of the palaces and houses the 
older people were put to death ; the stronger and younger 
of both sexes were carried off in bands as prisoners, bound 
together with ropes, with a view to ultimate sale as slaves. 
The Turkish historian, Scaddedin, in words which seem 
to smack of pleasure at the scene, says : — 

Having received permission to loot, the soldiers thronged into the city 
with joyous hearts, and there, seizing the possessors and their families, they 
made the wretched unbelievers weep. They acted in accordance with 
the precept, "Slaughter their aged and capture their youth."* 

The gravest misfortunes fell upon the wealthier and 
more cultured classes in the city. Their daughters and 
sons were torn from them to be sold to harems in Asia 
Minor, or for other vile purposes. The parents, if still 
strong, were sold as slaves. Numbers of them fled from 
their houses and crowded into St. Sophia and otber churches, 
hoping that their foes would respect places of worship, 
or expecting that a miracle of some kind would save 
them. But it was in vain. St. Sophia acted as a kind 
of drag-net in which all the best in the city were collected, 
and were carried off thence in gangs. Virgins consecrated 
to God were dragged from this and other churches by their 
hair and were ruthlessly stripped of every ornament they 
possessed . A horde of savage brutes committed unnameable 

The city was cleared of everything of value and was all 
but denuded of its population. By the lowest estimate, 
fifty thousand persons, mostly the strong and the young 
of both sexes, vv^re made captives, and later were sold 
as slaves and deported to Asia Minor. Some few escaped 
from the city into the country districts. Others found 
refuge in the Greek and Genoese galleys in the harbour, 
which were able to get away and escape because the 
crews of the Turkish vessels blockading the port had 
deserted in order to take part in the sack. Some were 
able to hide themselves in the city, and emerged later 
when the scene of horrors was at an end. Others, twe 
know not how many, were ruthlessly massacred because 
they were of no value for sale. The proceeds of the sack 

* Quoted by Pears, p. 303, 


and of the sale of captives brought wealth to every soldier 
in the Turkish army. No such dire misfortmie to a 
city had occurred since the destruction of Carthage. 

After three days and nights of these orgies the Sultan 
intervened and proclaimed an end of them. Meanwhile, on 
the day of the last assault, when his troops were in posses- 
sion of the city, the Sultan rode into it. He went direct to 
St. Sophia, and, dismounting, entered the great church. He 
took pains at once to prevent any destruction of its con- 
tents, and himself struck down a soldier engaged in this 
work, telling him that buildings were reserved for him- 
self. He instructed a mollah to call people to prayer 
from the pulpit. He thus inaugurated the conversion of 
the splendid Christian church into a mosque. 

After this he sent for Notaras, wlio had been in command 
of the Greek forces under the Emperor, and affected to 
treat him with generosity. He obtained a list of all the 
leading men in the city and offered a large reward for 
their heads. 

On the next day the Sultan made an inspection of the 
city and paid a visit to the Imperial Palace. On entering 
it he quoted the lines from a Persian poet : — 

The spider's web hangs before the portal of Caesar's palace, 
The owl is the sentinel on the watch-tower. 

Later he presided at a great banquet, where he appears 
to have imbibed too freely of wine. When half -drunk 
he directed the chief eunuch to go to Notaras and demand 
of him his youngest son, a handsome lad of fourteen. 
Notaras refused, preferring death to dishonour for his son. 
The Sultan thereupon ordered Notaras and all his family 
to "be put to death at once. Their heads were struck off 
and btought to the banquet and placed before the Sultan 
as a decoration of his table. 

It was said that the Sultan's ferocity was stimulated 
by the last favourite of his harem, with whom' he was 
m'uch enamoured, and that she, on her part, was instigated 
by her father, a Greek renegade. Under this influence 
the Sultan ordered the execution of all the persons to whom 
on the previous day he had promised liberty. The Papal 
legate. Cardinal Isidore, escaped recognition and was sold 
as a sl^ve by a soldier for a mean price. He was later 


ransomed. Orkhan, the grandson of Bayezid, who had 
been fbrought up as a Christian at the Imperial Coiurt, 
commiitted suicide rather, than be sold as a slaVe. 

Although many cruel deeds were committed by the 
Sultan and his soldiers, and a terrible calamity fell upon 
the whole community of Greeks, it cannot be said that 
the capture of Constantinople was the scene of such 
infamous orgies as took place in 1 204, when it was 
captured by the Crusaders. After the first few hours of 
entry there was on this occasion no general massacre. 
There Was not much incendiarism. The Sultan did his 
best, successfully, to save the churches and other buildings. 

Although the young Sultan was most brutal in some of 
his actions, he showed in others remarkable foresight and 
statesmanship. One of his earliest acts, after putting an 
end to the sack of the city, was to proclaim himself as 
protector of the Greek Church. A charter was granted 
to the Orthodox members of that Church securingi to 
the use of it some of the chtirches in the capital, and 
authority to celebrate in them religious rites according to 
their ancient usage. It also gave to them a certain amount 
of autonomy in civil matters. It recognized their laws of 
marriage and of succession to property and gave jurisdic- 
tion to the Patriarch and to Ecclesiastical Courts to enforce 
them . 

The most eminent survivor of the Greek clergy, 
Gennadius, was sought for. He had been sold as a slave 
after the sack of the city to a pasha at Adrianople. He 
was brought back to Constantinople and was invested by 
the Sultan with the office of Patriarch of the Greek Church. 
Mahomet, in doing so, said : ** I appoint you Patriarch. 
May Heaven protect you. In all cases and all occasions 
count on my friendship and enjoy in peace all the privi- 
leges of your predecessors." This was a mOst wise and 
opjx)rtune act of policy. The Sultan had been advised 
by fanatics among the Turks to order a general massacre 
of Greeks and others who would not embrace Islam. 
Mahomet's record shows that he would have sanctioned 
this if he had thought it for the interest of the State, arid 
he would probably have revelled in it. In pursuance of 
a deliberate policy of enlightened statecraft he rejected 
this advice. It was necessary to repeople his capital and 
to attract others than Turks to it. Mahomet was also 


ambitious of further conquests in Europe. He recog'nized 
that the attempt to force a wholesale change of religion 
on the vanquished would stimulate their resistance, while 
a wise tolerance might weaken it. When the Prince of 
Serbia asked Hunyadi, the Himgarian patriot, what he would 
do with the Orthodox Greek Church if he made himself 
master of that province, the reply was, ** I will establish 
everywhere Catholic churches." The reply of Mahomet 
to a similar question was, ** By the side of every mosque 
a church shall be erected in which your people will be 
able to pray.'* 

This great act of tolerance of Mahomet was far ahead 
of the pohtical ethics of the Christian Powers of Europe at 
that time. His example was not followed by the Spaniards, 
when they drove from their country the Moslem Moors, 
who had refused to adopt the religion of their victors. 
The action of Mahomet is another proof that the Turkish 
invasion of Europe was not actuated by religious fanaticism 
or the desire to spread Islam. There seems to have been 
no attempt to induce or compel the Greeks and others of 
the conquered city to embrace Islam. 

Mahomet also set to work, at an early date, to, repeople 
Constantinople'. For a lonig time previous to the con- 
quest its population had been dwindling'. In proportion as 
the Gi^eek Empire was reduced by the loss of its territories, 
so the importance of the capital Was diminished. Mahomet 
invited all who had fled after the capture to return, 
promising protection to their property and religion. He 
directed the transfer of families of Greeks, Jew^, and Turks 
from many parts of his Empire. When he took posses- 
sion of Trebizond and the Morea, many thousands of 
Greeks were forcibly removed to Constantinople. The same 
was the case with many islands in the ^Egean Sea. At 
the end of his reign Constantinople was far more populous 
and flourishing' than it had been under the last Greek 
Emperor . 

Although the capture of Constantinople was the principal 
feat in Mahomet's long reign, and that on which his fame 
in history chiefly rests, it was, in fact, only the first of a 
long list of conquests which earned for him fnom his country- 
men the title par imlneftce of 'the Conqueror.' During 
the thirty years of his reign he was almost always at war 
in personal command of his armies^ and there were very 


few in which he did not add fresh territxDry to his Empire, 
either in Europe or Asia. 

Bosnia and the Morea, which had become tributary States 
under previous Sultans, were now again invaded and were 
compelled to become integral parts of the Empire. Their 
princes were dethroned and put to death. Wallachia and 
the Crimea were forced to become vassal States. In Asia, 
Karamania, )So long the rival and foe of the Ottomans, and 
which, after miany wars, had agreed to pay tribute, was 
now forcibly annexed, and its Seljukian line of kings was 
put an end to by death. The great city of Trebizond and 
its adjoining province of Cappadocia, which had been cut 
off from the parent Empire, after the capture of Constanti- 
nople by the Crusaders, and formed into a miniature 
Empire, under the Comneni dynasty, was invaded and 
annexed by Mahomet, and at his instance its reigning family 
was put to death. The possessions of the Genoese on the 
coasts of the Black Sea were seized and appropriated. 

Many islands in the Greek Archipelago, including Lesbos, 
Lemnos, and Cephalonia, were also attacked and annexed. 
The same fate befell Euboea. It bielonged to the Republic 
of Venice, which was also deprived of others of its posses- 
sions on the coast of the Morea. Besides all these enter- 
prises, Mahomet in several successive years sent armies to 
ravage parts of Styria and TransylVania. He even sent an 
army across the frontier of Italy to ravage the region of 
Friuli, and other districts almost within sight of Venice, 
whose Republic was comj>elled to enter into an ignominious 
treaty, binding it to assist the Ottomans in other wars with a 
naval force. The last achievement of the ambitious Sultan 
was to send a force to the South of Italy, where it captured 
Otranto. The only captures which Mahomet attempted with- 
out success were those of Belgrade, in 1456, and the 
island of Rhodes in 1480. The case of Belgrade [Was 
of the greatest importance, for it long barred the way to 
the invasion of Hungary and Germany. The Sultan himlself 
took command of the army of attack with a hundred 
and fifty thousand men and three hundred gtins . He thbught 
the capture of it would be an easy task after that of 
Constantinople. But Western Europe, which had rendered 
so little assistance to the Greek Empire in its extremities, 
was alarmed at the prosp>ect of the invasion of Germany 
through the loss of Belgrade. The Pope preached another 


crusade, and a large lx)dy of knights volunteered for the 
defence of this frontier city. 

Hunyadi led the Hungarians in this his last campaign. 
The lower town was taken by the Turks after great loss 
of life ; but the uppver town made a protracted resistance . 
The Christian knights in a notable sortie attacked the 
batteries of the enemy, captured all the guns, and wounded 
the Sultan himself. Mahomet was compelled to raise the 
siege after losing fifty thousand men. It was the last feat 
of the Hungarian patriot. He died twenty days after this 
signal success. It was fifty years before Belgrade was 
again attacked and captured and the road was opened for 
the invasion of Hungary and Vienna. 

In all these campaigns Mahomet personally led his atmies 
in the field, with the exception of those for the invasion 
of the Crimea, the attack on Rhodes, and the capture 
of Otranto, where he delegated the task to able generals, of 
whom he appears to have had an abundant supply . But there 
never was a great commander who more completely domi- 
nated the generals under him and maintained his suprerhacy 
in the State. He made no confidences as to his intended 
military operations, or what were his imm'ediate objects 
of attack. There were no councils of war. His armies 
were collected, year after year, on one side or other of 
the Bosphorus, without any one knowing their destination. 
When, on one occasion, one of his generals asked him 
what was his next object, he replied that if a single hair 
of his beard knew what his intentions were he would 
pluck it out and cast it into the fire. He held secrecy and 
rapidity to be the first elements of success in war, and he 
acted on this principle. With the exception of the single 
case of the invasion of Walla chia, the provocation for war 
was in every case c«i the part of the Sultan. Invasion 
and attack were preceded by laconic messages calling ujx>n 
the State or city aimed at to surrender, and the actual 
attack was made with the shortest possible delay. 

Having determined on war and invasion, his object was 
pursued with the utmost vigour, and wholly regardless of 
the loss of life. As a rule, his campaigns were short ; 
but the "wiar with Venice was an exception. It lasted for 
many years. It consisted mainly of attacks on strong- 
holds of the Republic in the islands of the Archipelago 
and the coasts of Greece and Albania, where the fleets 


of the t^vo Powers played a large part. The conquest of 
Albania also was only effected after a strug'gle spread 
over many years, in which the patriot hero, Scanderb'eg, 
defeated successive attacks by Ottoman armies enormously 
exceeding his native levies. It was not till after the death 
of this great chief, in 1467, that Mahomet wias able to 
wie^r down opposition in Albania by sheer foi^oe of numbers. 

Early in his reign Mahomet Tecognized the strategic 
value of Constantinople. It becatne the keystone of his 
Empire. He transferred the feeat of his government Ito it 
from Adrianople. He fortified the Dardanelles by the 
erection of two castles on leither side of it near to Sestos 
and Abydos, each with thirty guns, which commanded 
the Straits. This secured his capital from attack. It 
prevented the entrance of a hostile fleet into the Sea of 
Marmora and the Black Sea. He added g'reatly to his 
navy, and made it superior to that of any other single 
Power in the Mediterranean. It gave him absolute supre- 
macy in the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmora. The 
possessions of the Genoese in the Black Sea wete at his 
mtercy. He sent a flotilla of small vessels up the Danube 
to assist in the siege of Belgrade. 

Throughout all his campaigns Mahomet exhibited perfidy 
and cruelty on a scale almost without precedent. Princes, 
generals, and armies, who capitulated on the promises of 
safety of life and respect of property, were put to death 
without compunction, in gross breach of faith. The in- 
habitants of cities were sold into slavery or transferred 
forcibly to Turkish dominions, in total disrelg^rd of solemn 

A notable case of this kind was that of Bosnia, where 
the final victory was achieved by the Ottoman Grand Vizier, 
in command of one of the ar^mies engaged, under the 
supreme command of the Sultan. The Prince of Bosnia 
and his army capitulated on the distinct engagiemient in 
writing that their lives would bte spared. Mahomet was 
full of wrath at this concession. It was his deliberate 
policy to extinguish by death the family of any reigning 
prince whom he vanquished in war. He consulted on 
the point the Mufti, with doubtless a strong hint as to 
what the answer should be. The Mufti issued a fetva 
which 'declared that no treaty of this kind with an infidel 
was binding on the Sultan. The holy mkn went so far 


as to offer himself to act as executioner. When the 
Bosnian king was summoned to the presence of the Sultan, 
and came before him trembling, with the treaty of capitula- 
tion in his hand, the Mufti himself struck off his head in 
the presence of the Sultan, exclaiming that it wias a good 
deed to put an end to an infidel. The fetva in this case 
formed a precedent for numerous similar cases. The whole 
of the royal family of Comnenus, the Emperor of Trebi- 
zond, who, without a fight, surrendered his kingdom to 
Mahomet, upon the promise of life and private property to 
himself and his family, were pa;t to death a few weeks 
later in Constantinople on the most flimsy pretence. 

In a similar way, when the island of E^uboeai was captured 
from the Venetians in 1470 by the Sultan, the Venetian 
garrison, supported by the Greek population, made a most 
gallant defence and inflicted enormous losses on the Turks. 
Paul Evizzo, the Venetian general in oorumand of the island, 
eventually surrendered on the promi^se of safety of life to 
himself and his army. Mahomet broke his word. He 
put to death the whole of the Venetian garrison by the 
cruel 'method of impaling. The gallant Evizzo was, by 
the Sultan's order, sawn in two. His daughter was sum- 
moned to Mahomet's tent, and w^hen she refused to submit 
to his lust, was put to death by his order. The island was 
added to the Ottoman Empire in 1471. 

It must be admitted that in all these conquests the 
Ottoman armies were very greatly superior in number and 
in armaments. In many cases they were also assisted 
by the disunion of their opponents. The subjection of 
Karamania was due to the death of its last king, Ibrahim, 
who left seven sons behind him,. Six of them were sons 
of a wife of royal descent, the seventh the son of a slave. 
The father favoured the youngest, whom he declared his 
heir. The other six fought for their patrimt>ny against the 
/ youngest and besieg'ed him in Konia, the capital. Mahomet 
thought that this was a good opportunity to intervene 
and to annex the whole country. Without any cause 
of quarrel he marched an army oif a hundred thousanjd 
men into the country and wa^ed war against all the sons. 
The Grand Vizier, Mahmoud Pasha, was sent on in advance, 
and defeated Ishak, the yoUng'est ,son of Ibrahim, in front 
of Konia. The^ terms of capitulation were thoug^ht by 
Mahomet to be too humane. He detei^mined to punish 


Mahmoud for his leniency. The cords of his tent w^ere 
cut while the Vizier was asleep. The tent fell on jthe 
luckless sleeper. This was a sign of disgrace. Mahmoud, 
who was a most able and successful g^eneral and statesman, 
was removed from his post and was put to death. The 
Karamanian dynasty, which for so long had been the 
rival of that of Othman, was now completely subdued. 
The country became a province of the Turkish Empire. 
Its two principal cities were depopulated and lost their 
splendour. It never again gave trouble to the Ottoman 
government . ' 

The country which suffered imost from the cruelties of 
Mahomet was Greece. Here, again, disunion was the main 
cause of its ruin. Two brothers of Constantine, the last 
Greek Emperor at Constantinople, Demetrius and Thomlas, 
held sway as tributaries of ,the Sultan, the one at 
Argos, the other at Patras. Unmindful of the danger 
which threatened them, they fought one another for supre- 
macy, after the death of Constantine, and were assisted 
in their internecine war by large numbers of turbulent 
Albanians, who transferred their services, now to one and 
now to another of these petty despots, and are said to 
have changed sides three times in the course of a single 
Sunday. Mahomet, in 1458, thinking that the disputes 
between the two brothers afforded a good occasion for 
getting full possession of the Morea, invaded jt with a 
large force. The two brothers, instead of uniting to defend 
the country, continued to fight against one another, and 
attempted, at the same time, singly to fight against the 
Turks. There followed scenes of massacre and rapine 
as 'Mahomet's army passed through the country, besieging 
and capturing successively its many petty strongholds. In 
nearly every case, after vigorous resistance, capitulation 
was offered and agreed to on promise of life to the 
garrisons. In no case was the promise kept. As a ruley 
the fighting -men were massacred after surrender, their 
leaders wtere sawn in two, ^nd the other inhabitants were soljd 
into slavery, or were in somte cases transferred en masse 
to Constantinople as colonists to fill the empty city. The 
two brothers were driven from the country. Demetrius 
appears to have made some kind of terms with the Sultan, 
one of which was that his daughter should enter Mahomet's 
harem. This promise wias not kept ; she was not thought 


worthy of it, and she was )insi4ted by being deprived of 
the only eunuch who attended her. It is not stated what 
became of her. Thomas fled from' the country, carrying 
with him, instead of treasure, a valuable relic, the head 
of ISt. Andrew, with which he disappeared from history. 
The Sultan possessed himself of the whole country, with 
the exception of two or three seaports in the hands of the 
Venetians. The memory of this cruel invasion of the 
Turks was deeply impressed on the minds of the people 
of Greece. But for 471 years, with a short interlude 
when it was held by the Venetians, it remained a Turkish 

On his way back to Constantinople the Sultan passed 
by Athens, where one Franco reigned as Duke, but 
tributary to the Turks. He gave orders that Franco was 
to be strangled. As a special favour this operation was 
effected, not in the tent of the Turkish general, but in 
his own domicile, and thu,s the last spark of Greek 
independence passed away. 

It is not perhaps fair to judge of Mahomet as regards 
his cruelties and perfidies by a high standard. Hi3 
opponents, the chiefs of the countries he invaded and 
conquered, were, in many cases, not inferior to him 
in these respects. Scanderbeg, whose patriotic defence 
of Albania won for him the reputation of a saint in his 
own counttry, and a high place in history, was most cruel 
and vindictive whenever he had the opportunity. He 
habitually massacred the prisoners taken in his battles. 
The two despots of the Morea were not behindhand in 
this respect. The Prince, or Voivode as he was called, 
of Wallachia, Wlad by name, was one of the most crujel 
and bloodthirsty ruffians recorded in history. He was 
known by the name of ** the Impaler." He revelled in 
the dying agonies of the prisoners and other vjctimis whom 
he subjected to this cruel death. They were reserved 
for this purpose to enliven his banquets. When some 
guest expressed surprise that he could bear the odour 
emanating from the victims of this death, the prince 
directed the immediate execution of his guest, on a 
higher pale than the others, so that he might not be 
incommoded by the odour he complained of. 

Mahomet invaded Wallachia, in 1462, with an army of 
two hundred thousand. In his pursuit of Wlad he came 


across a field where twenty thousand Turks and Bulgarians 
had been put to death, one -half of them by impalement and 
the other half by crucifixion. Mahomet defeated and drove 
into fexile this ruffian, and installed in his place a favourite 
named ^aduj, who had been birought up at his Court 
as a page. On the death of this man Wlad turned up 
again, but Was killed by a slave. Wallachia, which 
previously ihad been compelled to pay, tribtute by, Mahomet, 
was now rtlade a vassal State. The Sultan appointed its 
prince. It was not otherwise treated as a Turkish province. 

The failure of the Turkish general to capture the island 
of Rhodes was said to be due to the fact that, just before 
the final assault, after long resistance by the Knights who 
held this island, the Turkish general issued an order to 
the army that there was to be no pillag^e of the city, 
wishing to reserve for the Sultan and himself the wealth 
which might be captured. This dispirited the Turkish 
soldiers, and they made no effort for success in the assault. 
The Knights again repulsed the attack and the siege was 
raised. It was not till 1520 that Rhodes was finally 
captured . 

Great as Mahomet was as a warrior and general, he 
was not less conspicuous as an administrator and states- 
man. The organization and provisioning of his armies 
in his numerous campaigns were specially worthy of notice. 
His soldiers were always well fed and were amply equipped 
with guns and armaments. He was also the sole source of 
legislation for his Empire. He had supreme power over life 
and property of all his subjects. More than any of his pre- 
decessors and successors, he founded mosques, hospitals, 
colleges, and schools in Constantinople and other cities of 
his Empire. He fully recognized the importance of science 
in education. He cultivated the society of learned men 
and loved to converse with them'. He had some reputa- 
tion las a ipoet. With all this, he was notorioi^s for evil and 
sensual life in a direction which is held to be infamous 
and (degrading by all peoples. He was not oinly himself 
guilty of fratricide, but he prescribed it as a family law! for 
his successors. He died at the age of fifty-one, after thirty 
years of reign. He had collected a great army for another 
campaigri, but no one knew what his aims and intentions 
were, whether for another attack on Rhodes, or for the 
invasion of Candia, or to follow up his success in Calabria. 


His secret died with him. He was the first Sultan to be 
buried at Constantinople, in the farnous mosque which he 
built there. In spite of his cruelties and perfidies and 
of his evil hfe, he has been held in honour by successive 
generations of his countrymen, and has been rightly 
designated as 'the Conqueror/ 




Mahomet left two sons, of whom the eldest, Bayezid, suc- 
ceeded him as Sultan at the age of thirty-five. Von Hammer 
and other historians, who have founded their narratives on 
his great work, write of Bayezid in terms of disparagement 
because, unlike other early Sultans of the Othman race, he 
did not signalize his reign by any great additions to his 
Empire. If success as a ruler is only to be measured by 
territorial expansion, Bayezid must take rank in history 
below the other nine Sultans who created the Ottoman 
Empire and raised it to its zenith. A great Empire, how- 
ever, such as that which the Ottomans had already achieved, 
may be better served by peace than by war for further 
conquests. It would certainly have been well for the Otto- 
mans if no attempt had ever been made to extend their 
Empire northwards beyond the Danube. Bayezid, so far 
as we can gather his policy from his actual deeds, was not 
favourable to expansion of his Empire. If he was engaged 
for some years in war with Hungary, Venice, and Egypt, 
he was not the aggressor. He came to terms of peace with 
these Powers when it was possible to do so. He did not 
support the army which, under his predecessor, had invaded 
Italy and captured Otranto. He recalled the very able 
general, Ahmed Keduk, who commanded it. Khaireddin 
Pasha, who succeeded in command, after a most gallant 
defence, was compelled to capitulate ; and never again was 
Italy invaded by a Turkish army. It would seem to have 
been a wise decision on the part of Bayezid riot to pursue 
further the Italian adventure. 

As it is not our intention to write a complete history of 

the Ottoman Sultans, but rather to describe the early expan- 


BAYEZID 11 99 

sion of their Empire and its later dismemberment, it will not 
be necessary to devote more than a very few pages to the 
comparatively uneventful reign of Bayezid. It may be well, 
however, briefly to note that he was of philosophic tempera- 
ment, very austere in religion, and without his father's vices. 
Like many of his race he was devoted to literary studies, 
and he had a reputation as a poet. He was not wanting' in 
energy and valour when occasion required. He was, 
however, the first of his race who did not habitually lead 
his armies into the field. 

His younger brother Djem, who at the death of Mahomet 
was only twenty -two years of age, was a much more fiery, 
valorous, and ambitious soldier, and of more attractive 
personality. He was of a romantic disposition, and had 
a much greater reputation than Bayezid as a poet. His 
poems rank high in Turkish literature. His strange 
adventures and sad fate form one of the romances of Turkish 
history, which might well fill many chapters. It must 
suffice to record of him that, like other brothers of Sultans 
who were not at once put to death at the commencement 
of a new reign, he took up arms and claimed the throne 
against Bayezid. The latter fortunately was the first to 
arrive at Constantinople after the death of Mahomet. He 
there obtained the support of the Janissaries, not without 
large presents to them. With the aid of Ahmed Keduk, 
Bayezid, after vain efforts to come to terms with his 
brother, was successful in putting down two rebellions of 
a formidable character on behalf of Djem. After the 
second defeat Djem fled to Eg>^t, and thence, after many 
adventures, found his way to the island of Rhodes, where 
he claimed the hospitality of the Knights of Jerusalem. 
Their Grand Master, D'Aubusson, who had made such a 
gallant defence of the island against Mahomet, and who 
was a most brave warrior, was also a crafty and perfidious 
intriguer. On the one hand, he induced Prince Djem to 
enter into a treaty, by which very important concessions 
were promised to the knights in the event of Djem being 
able to gain the Ottoman throne. On the other hand, 
D'Aubusson negotiated a treaty with Bayezid under which 
he was to receive an allowance of 45,000 ducats a year, 
nominally for the maintenance of Djem., but really as an in- 
ducement to prevent the escape of that prince from Rhodes. 
On the strength of this, the unfortunate prince was detained 


as a virtual prisoner in Rhodes, and later in a castle at 
Sasesnage, in France, belonging to the order of the Knights, 
for not less than seven years. At the end of this time the 
King of France, Charles VIH, intervened in favour of the 
prince, and got him transferred into the keeping of the 
Pope at Rome. The Pope Callixtus was also not above 
making a good profit out of Djem. He came to terms 
with Sultan Bayezid under which he was to pocket the 
45,000 ducats a year so long as Djem was kept out of 
mischief. On the death, some years later, of this Pope, his 
successor, Pope Alexander Borgia, of infamous memory, 
renewed the treaty with Sultan Bayezid, with the addition of 
a clause that he was to receive a lump sum of 300,000 
ducats if Prince Djem, instead of being detained as 
prisoner, was put to death. After a short interval the 
Pope, fearing the intervention of the King of France, on 
behalf of Djem, and wishing to pocket the lump sum, con- 
trived the death by poison of the prince. The menace to the 
Sultan was thus at last removed, and his Empire was 
spared another civil war, at a cost which by the ethics of 
the day was no doubt fully justified. 

Of other incidents in Bayezid's reign it is only necessary 
to state that the most important of his achievements was 
the complete subjection, in the second year of his reign, of 
Herzegovina, which had been a tributary State under his 
predecessors, but was now again invaded. It was finally 
incorporated as a province of the Empire. There w^re 
also many years of desultory war with Hungary, in which 
frequent raids were made by the two Powers upon one 
another's territories, and where each vied with the other 
in atrocious cruelties. Everywhere children were impaled, 
young women were violated in presence of their parents, 
wives in presence of their husbands, and thousands of 
captives were carried off and sold into slavery. But there 
were no other results, and peace was eventually established 
between the two Powers. 

In Asia there was war for five vears with the Mameluke 
government of Egypt and Syria. The Mamelukes had sent 
an army in support of an insurrection in Karamania. The 
outbreak was put down, and the Karamanians were finally 
subjected, but the Mamelukes defeated the Turkish armies 
in three great battles. Peace was eventually made, but 
onlv on concession by the Turks of three important fortresses 
in Asia Minor. 


There was also war with the Republic of Venice, in the 
course of which the Turks succeeded in capturing the 
three remaining Venetian fortresses in the Morea — Navarino, 
Modon, and Coron — an important success which extinguished 
the influence of Venice on the coasts of Greece. [The 
success was largely due to a great increase of the Turkish 
navy, which in Mahomet's reigti had achieved a supremacy 
in the Mediterranean over any other single naval Power. 
It now defeated the Venetian fleet in a desperate battle off 
Lepanto in 1499, and met on equal terms the combined 
fleets of Venice, Austria, and the Pope in 1500. It also 
went farther afield, and at the entreaty of the Moors of 
Grenada, who were severely pressed by the Christian army 
in Spain, ravaged the coasts of that country. 

The last two years of Bayezid's fairly prosperous reign 
were obscured by another civil war, this time at the instance 
of his son and successor, Selim. Selim was the youngest 
of three surviving sons of Bayezid. All three had been 
invested with important posts as governors of provinces 
in Asia. Ahmed, the second of them, was the favourite of 
his father, who designated him for succession to the throne. 
But Selim was by far the ablest and most daring of them. 
He determined to anticipate the death of his father, who 
was ageing and in feeble health, by securing the throne for 
himself. Leaving his seat of gjovernment with a larg'e suite, 
almost amounting to an army, he paid a visit, uninvited, 
to his father at Constantinople, and there fomented intrigues. 
He was the idol of the Janissaries, who were dissatisfied with 
the long inaction of Sultan Bayezid, and hoped for new 
conquests and loot under Selim. Bayezid, however, was 
supported for the time by a section of his army, and suc- 
ceeded in defeating his son. Selim then fled to the Crimea, 
where he raised a new army and, later, again made his way 
to Constantinople by a forced march round the north of 
the Black Sea. On arriving there he was supported by the 
full force of the Turkish army. 

The Janissaries, at the instance of Selim, stormed at 
the gates of the imperial palace and insisted on the 
Sultan receiving them in person. Bayezid gave way 
and admitted a deputation of them to an audience. 
Seated on his throne, he asked them what they wanted. 
** Our Padishah," they said, " is old and sickly ; we 
will that Selim shall be Sultan." Bayezid, finding 


that he could not rely on any section of his army, 
submitted. " I abdicate," he said, " in favour of my son, 
Selim. May God grant him a prosperous reign." He 
only asked as a favour that he might be allowed to retire 
to the city of Asia Minor where he was born. His son 
thereupon conducted his father, the ex -Sultan, to the out- 
skirts of the city with every mark of respect, and Bayezid 
departed on his journey. He died, however, three days 
later, not without grave suspicion of foul play. The deposi- 
tion of Bayezid is interesting and important as showing the 
increasing power of the Janissaries. Only the strongest 
Sultan could thenceforth cope with them, and they became 
eventually one of the main causes of the decay of the 
Empire which they had done so much to call into existence. 

Bayezid, like others of his race, in spite of his philosophic 
temperament and his love of ease, had a vein of cruelty. 
It has been shown that he caused his brother Djem to be 
poisoned. This was in accord with the family law. A 
more serious instance was that he put to death his great 
general, Ahmed Keduk, to whom he was deeply indebted for 
success in putting down the insurrection of Djem. Ahmed 
had deeply offended the Sultan by brusquely opposing his 
peaceful policy, and Bayezid forcibly removed the incautious 

The net result to the Turkish Empire of the thirty -one 
years of Bayezid's reign was, on the one hand, the incor- 
poration of Herzegovina, and the expulsion of the Venetians 
from the Morea ; on the other, the loss of three fortresses 
in Asia Minor to the Mamelukes of Egypt and the with- 
drawal from the South of Italy. 

An incident worth recording was the first appearance of 
Russia in the field of Turkish diplomacy. An ambassador 
was sent to Bayezid by Czar Ivan III. He was instructed 
to refuse to bow his knee to the Sultan or to concede prece- 
dence to any other ambassadors. Bayezid meekly gave 
way on these points of etiquette. This was a presage of 
the attitude of Russia which two centuries later threatened 
the existence of the Turkish Empire. 



On the forced abdication of Bayezid, Selim was proclaimed 
Sultan at Constantinople, with the full support of the 
Janissaries. He reigned for only eight years, but he 
succeeded in this short time in more than doubling the 
extent of the Ottoman Empire. He made no additions 
to it in Europe, but he conquered and annexed the great 
provinces of Diarbekir and Khurdistan from Persia, and 
Egypt, Syria, and a great part of Arabia, including the 
holy cities, from the Mameluke government of Egypt. He 
commenced this career of war and conquest at the ripe 
age of forty -seven. He proved to be a ruler and general 
of indomitable will and vigour, the exact opposite to his 
father in his greed for expansion of his Empire. He 
was a most able administrator. He cared little for his 
harem or other pleasures of life. Sleeping but little, he 
spent his nights in literary studies. He delighted in 
theological discussions and in the society of learned men, 
and he appointed them to high offices in the State. They 
had no effect, however, in softening his evil nature. He 
had no regard for human life, whether in war or in peace. 
He was attended by men called mutes, who were ready 
at any moment to strangle or decapitate on the spwDt any 
person designated by him. His most trusted counsellors, 
his oldest friends and associates, were in constant danger 
of life. He met argument or protest against his schemes, 
or criticism of his past actions, by instant death, not un- 
frequently by his own hand. During" his short reigti seven 
of his Grand Viziers were decapitated by his orders. 
Numerous other officials and generals shared the same 
fate. They seldom enjoyed the sweets of office for more 


than a few moinths. One of them, in playful reminder pf 
this to Selim, asked to be given a, short notice of his 
doom, so that he might put his private affairs in order . 
The Sultan replied to him : "I have been thinking for 
some time of having thee killed, but I have at present 
no one to fill thy, place, otherwise I would willingly oblige 
thee." Judges convicted of corruption were dealt with 
in the same way. By a maliciop;S irony they were compelled 
to pass sentence on themselves, before being* handed over 
to the executioner. Janissaries who dared to ask for 
increase of pay were also condemned to death. The first 
recorded act of Selim's reign was to strike dead with 
his own sword a Janissary who was deputed by the corps 
to ask for the accustomed presents on his accession. It 
does not appear that these events cast gloom on Selim's 
Court. They soon lost the sense of novelty. There were 
plenty of applicants for the vacant posts, willing and eager 
to run the risks of office. Selim was agreeable in ;his 
conversation and life was gay. He did not indulge in 
refinements of cruelty like his grandfather Mahomet. He 
acted from a sense of pubHc duty. If he spilled Inuch 
blood, he restored and maintained discipline in the army 
and stemmed the course of corruption . He was distinctly 
popular with his subjects, with whom, as in most Eastern 
countries, affection was in part inspired by terror. 

As was to be expected, Selim's two elder brothers, 
Khorkand and Ahmed, whose claims to the Sultanate had 
been set aside, and who were at the head of important 
governments in Asia Minor, took up arms against him. 
Selim, without loss of a moment, led an army to Buessa 
against them. Khorkand, taken ima wares, was quickly de- 
feated. He was allowed an hour's respite before being 
bow-strung. During this short interval he wrote a poem 
deprecating his brother's cruelty. Selim wept over the 
poem and ordered a State funeral for his brother. At 
Brasa a horrible scene of slaughter took place. Five 
nephews of Selim^ — possible claimants to the throne — were 
collected there. They were of varying ages, from five 
to twenty. They were all strangled by order of the Sultan 
— the eldest of them resisting with terrible struggles, the 
youngest with plaintive cries for mercy, while Selim from 
an adjoining room was a witness of the scene, and urged 
his mutes to hasten their task. Ahmed, the second and 

SELIM I los 

favourite son of Bayezid, made a long'er resistance in the 
field, but a few njonths later he was defeated and put 
to death. 

Selim, now safe on his throne, turned his attention to 
war with Persia. The principal cause of conflict arose 
out of a dispute on religion. From an early time (the 
Mahommedan world had been divided into two hostile 
sects — ^the Sunnites and the Schiis. The point of differ- 
ence was whether authority should be attributed to the 
writings of the four immediate descendants of the Prophet, 
as the Schiis contended, or whether the words of the 
Prophet alone should be conclusive on matters of dogma. 
It would seem that the smaller the difference in dogma 
between two sects of a religious body, the worse they 
hate one another ; and just as the Christians of the Greek 
and Latin Churches hated one another more than they 
hated the followers of Mahomet, so the Sunnites and the 
Schiis hated one another to the point that they were each 
bent on exterminating the other — though the difference 
between them might seem to outsiders to be no greater 
than that between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. 

Persia was the headquarters of the Schiis. In the 
Ottoman Empire the Sunnites greatly prevailed. But of 
late years the Schiis had gained ground in Asia Minor. 
Selim, who was a bigoted follower of Mahomet, deter- 
mined to extirpate this heresy throughout his Empire. 
With devilish zeal he employed an army of spies to ferret 
out the heretics, and on a given day seventy thousand pf 
them were arrested. Forty thousand of them were put to 
death, and the remainder were condemned to terms of 
imprisonment. This violent action does not seem to have 
aroused any popular indignation against Selim. It earned 
for him in Turkey the title of * the Just,' and diplomats 
of the day and historians wrote of it in laudatory terms. 
It was a proof of the possibility of extirpating a heresy 
if the means adopted were ruthlessly carried out. The 
Schii heresy was extinguished, once for all, in the Ottoman 
Empire. This exploit, however, added to the animosity 
already existing between the Persians and the Ottomans, 
and made war between them inevitable. The immediate 
clash was hastened by the Persians giving asylum to Murad, 
a son of Ahmed, who had not been included in the slaughter 
of his cousins at Buessa. 


Persia, at this time, was under the rule of Shah Ismail, 
a most capable and successful ruler, who had renovated 
the kingdom, and added largely to it by the conquest 
and subjection of many minor adjoining States. The two 
potentates were well matched in vigour and ability. When 
war with Persia was propounded by Selim in his council, 
there was ominous silence. There was evidently fear of 
the undertaking. The Janissary guarding the entrance to 
the chamber broke down the suspense by throwing him- 
self on his knees before Selim and expressing ardent 
support to the war. This precipitated a decision by the 
council, and the Janissary was at once promoted to high 

Early in March, 1 5 1 4, a hundred and forty thousand 
men and three hundred guns were collected on the Asian 
side of the Bosphorus, under command of the Sultan. 
Sixty thousand camels were provided to carry its baggage 
and munitions. The army comimenced its march on 
April 20th. Its aim was Tabriz, then the capital of Persia, 
distant from Scutari, as the crow flies, by over one thousand 
miles of a mountainous country, in which there were no 
roads. The main difficulty was the supply of the army 
with food for men, horses, and camels. This was partly 
effected from Trebizond, to which the command of the Black 
Sea enabled Selim to send supplies from Constantinople. 

Selim preluded his campaign by an insolent letter to 
Shah Ismail. In the course of it he said : — 

It is only by the practice of the true religion that a man will prosper 
in this world and deserve eternal life in the world to come. As for thee, 
Emir Ismail, such a reward will never be thy lot ; for thou hast deserted 
the path of salvation and of the holy commandment ; thou hast defiled the 
purity of the doctrine of Islam ; thou hast dishonoured and cast down the 
altars of God ; thou hast by base stratagem alone raised thyself and 
sprung from the dust — to a seat of splendour and glory ; thou hast 
opened to Mussulmans the gate of tyranny and oppression ; thou hast 
forced iniquity, perjury, and blasphemy to impiety, heresy, and schism ; 
thou hast, under the cloak of hypocrisy, sown in all parts the seeds of 
trouble and sedition ; thou hast raised the standard of ungodliness ; thou 
hast given way to thy shameful passions and abandoned thyself without 
restraint to the most disgraceful excesses. . . . Therefore, as the first 
duty of a Mussulman, and above all of a pious prince, is to obey the 
commandment, " Oh ye faithful who believe, perform ye the decrees of 
the Lord " — the ulemas and our teachers of the law have pronounced 

SELIM 1 167 

death against thee, perjurer and blasphemer as thou art, and have laid 
upon every good Mussulman the sacred duty of taking arms for the 
defence of religion and for the destruction of heresy and impiety, in thy 
person and the persons of those who follow thee. 

On the approach of Selim and his army to the frontier 
of Persia, Shah Ismail, instead of going out to meet his 
foe, laid waste the whole coi;ntry and retreated towards 
his capital. This greatly increased the difficulty Selim 
had of supplying his army. The soldiers were exhausted 
by the long march. The Janissaries began to murniur. 
One of the generals, Hemdar Pasha, who had been brought 
up With Selim from! his earliest childhood, and might be 
expected to have great influence with him, was persuaded 
by his brother officers to remonstrate with the Sultan 
against further prosecution of the invasion of Persia, through 
a country where every vestige of food was destroyed. 
The Sultan met the suggestion by ordering the instant 
decapitation of the pasha. 

Selim endeavoured to provoke Ismail to meet him in battle 
by another insolent letter, written mainly in verse, taunting 
him with cowardice. " One who, by perjury," he wrote, 
" seizes sceptres, ought not to skulk from danger. . . . 
Dominion is a bride to be wooed and won by him only 
whose lip blanches not at the biting kiss of the sabre's 
edge." Ismail replied in a dignified letter denying the 
existence of any reason for war, and expressing willing- 
ness to resume peaceful relations. He suggested that 
Selim's letter, written in a style so unfitting the dignity 
of the Sultan, must have been the hasty production of a 
secretary, who had taken an overdose of opium. The 
taunt was a bitter one, for it was well known that Selim 
was addicted to opium. The letter was accompanied by 
the present of a box of opiu,m to the supposed secretary. 

Meanwhile Selim and his army marched on with 
ever-increasing difficulties of supplies. The soldiers at last 
broke out in open revolt and demanded to be led back 
to their homes. Selim took the bold course of riding into 
the midst of them and addressing them personally. 

Is this [he said] your service to your Sultan ? Does your loyalty consist 
of mere boast and lip worship ? Let those among you who wish to go 
stand out from the ranks and depart. As for me, I have not advanced 


thus far merely to double back on my track. Let the cowards instantly 
stand aloof from the brave who have devoted themselves with sword and 
quiver, soul and hand to our enterprise. 

He gave word of command to form columns and march, 
and not a single m^n dared to leave the ranks. 

On the approach of the Ottoman army to Tabriz, Ismail 
wias ^t last drawn from his reserve. He determined to 
give battle. The two armies met at Calderan, not far 
from the capital, on August 1 4th, 1 1 6 days from the 
commencement of the march, which must have covered 
nearly twelve hundred miles. This was a great perform- 
ance on the part of the Turkish army. It was by this time 
reduced to one hundred and twenty thousand men, of whom 
eighty thousand were cavalry. The Persian army, con- 
sisted of eighty thousand cavalry, splendidly mounted and 
equipped, jand well trained. But there were no infantry 
and no guns. The Turkish soldiers were fatigued by their 
long march. They were ill -fed and the horses were stale 
and out of condition. The issue turned upon the success 
of the charges of the Persian cavalry. They attacked 
the Turks with great impetuosity in two bodies on either 
fiank. That under command of Ismail himself was suc- 
cessful and broke and dispersed the opposing wing of 
the Turks. The other column was unsuccessful. The 
Ottomans fell back behind their guns. The Janissaries 
formed a solid front. The cannons opened a destructive 
fire, which was supported by the fire of the Janissaries, who 
were now armed with muskets. The Persians were shattered 
and destroyed . The defeat of the other wing of the Turkish 
army was retrieved. Twenty-five thousand Persian horse- 
men lay dead on the field. Ismail himself was badly 
wounded and escaped with difficulty. 

After this victory Selim entered Tabriz, and remained 
there eight days. It was his wish to winter in Persia 
and to renew his campaign in the following spring, but 
his soldiers objected and insisted on being led home. This 
time Selim found himself unable to refuse. He turned 
homeward with his army. No term's of peace were con- 
cluded with Ismail, and the two countries continued 
nominally at war during the remainder of Selim's life. 
But the great provinces of Diarbekir and Khurdistan 
remained in the hands of the Turks. Selim left them in 

SELIM I 109 

charge of the well-known Turkish historian, Idris, who 
spent the next year in organizing these two departments 
and in putting down any attempt at resistance. He was 
eminently successful in this, and the two provinces were 
permanently annexed to the Ottoman Empire. The whole 
campaign of Selim must be considered as a most striking 
success. To have marched a hundred and forty thousand 
men, with eighty thousand horses and three hundred guns, 
over twelve hundred miles, and to have defeated a power- 
ful army, backed by all the resources of a great country, 
was an achievement which earned for Selim a place in 
the first rank of great generals. Selim does not appear 
to have been anxious to include Persia in his Empire. His 
hatred of the Schii heresy was such that he aimed rather 
at isolation than annexation. He issued a firman forbidding* 
any trade with Persia, and when a number of merchants 
were reported to him for having broken the law by enter- 
ing into illicit trade with the Persians, he ordered them 
to be executed. He was only with difficulty induced to 
revoke the order by the Mufti Djemali. 

On his return to Constantinople Selim, inflamed by his 
success in putting down the heresy of the Schiis and 
his victory over heretical Persia, determined to extirpate 
Christianity from his dominion. Again with the greatest 
difficulty he was dissuaded from this course by the 
courageous Mufti. But he insisted on depriving the 
Christians in Constantinople of all their churches, which 
he turned into mosques. 

In the spring of 15 16 Selim determined to extend his 
Empire by the conquest of Syria and Egypt. These 
countries had been for many years past under the rule of the 
Mamelukes, a body of soldiers recruited from Circassian 
slaves, and from whose ranks Sultans were elected for their 
lives. The existing Sultan, Kansar Ghowri, was eighty years 
of asre, but was still able to take command in the field of 
his Mamelukes. The immediate pretext for war,, as in 
the case of Persia, was a religious one. A claim was 
Dref erred by Selim for the protection of the holy cities of 
Mecca and Medina. 

On June 26th Selim arrived at Konia, and thence sent 
an insolent missive of defiance to Ghowri, who was at 
Aleppo. In return, a mission was sent to the Turkish 
headquarters. It consisted of an envoy and a suite of 


ten Mamelukes in splenkiid military array and glittering 
with armour. Selim was indignant at this warlike demon- 
stration. He directed the immediate execution of the ten 
members of the suite, and with difficulty was persuaded 
not to deal in the same way with' the envoy. As an 
alternative the envoy was shorn of his beard and hair, his 
head was covered by a nightcap, and he was mounted 
on a broken-down donkey, and was returned in this 
ignominious way to Ghowri. 

The two armies met in battle not far from Aleppo. 
The issue was not in doubt. The Egyptians had no guns. 
They also suffered from the defection of the Djellans, a 
section of Mamelukes of the second and inferior rank. 
An hour sufficed to ensure complete victory to the Turks. 
Ghowri fled and died, trampled to death, it was said, by 
the mass of fugitives. The victory caused the loss not 
only of Aleppo but of the whole of Syria. Selim, afJter 
a few days at Aleppo, went to Damascus, and there 
organized the invasion of Egypt. This involved the pro- 
vision of many thousands of camels to carry water for 
the troops when crossing the desert. He sent five thousand 
men to Ghaza, under Sinan Pasha, the brave general who 
had led the victorious wing of his army against the Persians . 
They met there an Egyptian armiy of about the same 
number, and a fierce battle ensued', which resulted in the 
defeat of the Mamelukes, m^nly owing to the Ottoman 

Selim left Damascus with his main army on Decem- 
ber 1 6th. On arrival at Gaza he ordered the immediate 
slaughter of all its inhabitants. He also directed the 
execution of one of his own generals who ventured to 
point out to him the danger of an invasion of Egypt. 
On January loth the arrangements for this expedition were 
complete. Ten days were occupied in crossing the desert 
between Syria and Egypt. The army was harassed by 
Arabs, but there was no attempt to resist on the part 
of the main Egyptian army. When, at one time, the 
Grand Vizier, thinking that the cloud of Arabs meant a 
more serious resistance, persuaded Selim to mount his 
war-horse, the Sultan, on finding it was a false alarm and 
that it was only an affair with Arabs, directed the execution 
of the Vizier. 

On the last day of the year 1 5 1 6 Selim arrived with 


his army within a few miles of Cairo. Meanwhile the 
Mamelukes had elected Tourman Bey as Sultan to succeed 
Ghowri. But there was much opposition to this on the 
part of those who favoured the claim of the son of Ghowri. 
As a result, there was dissension in the Egyptian army. 
Two of their leaders, Ghazali Bey and Khair Bey, entered 
into treasonable relations with Selim. Ghazali persuaded 
Tourman to send the guns, with which the Egyptian army 
was now provided, by the ordinary route, and then secretly 
sent information of this to SelimI, who was able to 
avoid the guns by taking another route. 

The two armies met near Ridania. The battle resulted 
in the complete defeat of the Egyptians, with a loss of 
twenty -five thousand men, owing to their want of guns. 
Selim then advanced on Cairo. There was no resistance 
at first, but later the Mamelukes reoccupied it and made 
a desperate resistance to the Turkish army. The streets 
were barricaded and every house was turned into a fortress. 
Selim spent three days in getting possession of the city. 
Eight hundred Mamelukes who surrendered on promise 
of their lives were put to death. A general massacre of 
the inhabitants then took place, and fifty thousand of them 
perished by the sword, or were thrown into the flames of 
the burning houses. As a result of this, and further 
military operations in the Delta, Egypt was completely 
subdued. The brave and generous Tourman was taken 
prisoner and, after denouncing the two traitors in the 
presence of Selim, was put to death. 

Some months were then occupied by Selim in organizing 
the conquered country. It was not annexed as an integral 
part of Turkey. The Mamelukes, or rather the section 
of them who had been unfaithful to their Sultan, and who 
had survived the general slaughter, were entrusted with 
the administration of Egypt, subject to the superior con- 
trol of a pasha appointed by the Turkish government. 
Ghazali and Khair Bey received the reward of their treason 
— Ghazali was appointed Governor of Syria and Khair Bey 
of Egypt. A garrison of five thousand Ottoman soldiers 
was left at Cairo. The Turkish army insisted on an 
early return to Constantinople. A war against Moslems, 
where there was no opportunity of making captives for 
sale las slaves or for harems, had no charm for them. Selim 
had once more to give way. 


It was not till September 17th that he was able to com- 
mence his homeward march. Having safely passed the 
desert, he said to his Grand Vizier, Younis Pasha, who was 
riding beside him, " Well, our backs are now turned on 
Egypt and we shall soon be at Gaza.*' Younis, who had 
originally been opposed to the expedition, could not resist 
the reply : " And what has been the result of all our 
trouble and fatigue, if it is not that half our army has 
perished in battle, or in the sands of the desert, and that 
Egypt is now governed by a gang of traitors ? " This 
imprudent speech cost the Grand Vizier his life. His 
head was struck off as he rode by his master's side. 

The conquest of Egypt entailed the acquisition of the 
interests of that country in a great part of Arabia, including 
the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Selim was also able 
to induce the titular Caliph, who through many generations 
had inherited from the early successors of Mahomet a 
certain undefined authority in the religious world, and who 
held a shadowy Court at Cairo, to make over to him and 
his successors, as Sultans of Turkey, the barren office, 
together with its symbols, the standard and cloak of the 
Prophet. These symbols were removed to Constantinople, 
and thenceforth the Sultans assumed the title of Caliphs 
and Protectors of the Holy Places — and this may have 
added to their prestige in the Moslem world, though 
it may be doubted whether it contributed much to the 
strength of the Turkish Empire. Of more material 
advantage was the fact that an annual tribute was paid 
by the Egyptian government, which a few years later, 
under Solyman, was fixed at 80,000 ducats. It also con- 
tributed men and ships to wars undertaken by the Sultan. 
In the siege of Rhodes, in 1524, Egypt sent three thousand 
Mamelukes and twenty vessels of war. 

Selim spent some time at Damascus and Aleppo on his 
way back in organizing his new acquisitions. Syria was 
incorporated in the Turkish Empire, and has remained 
so to the present time. 

The campaign which ended in the conquest of Egypt 
and Syria was not less conspicuous in its result than 
that against Persia, more on account of the difficulties 
of organization, than for success on the field of battle. 
Treason and the want of artillery were more responsible 
for the defeat of the Mamelukes than the valour of the 

SELIM 1 113 

Ottoman troops. It is not easy for us to understand why 
Egypt was not incorporated in the Empire in the same 
way as Syria. The Mamelukes were as much strangers to 
the country as the Turks themselves. The minority of 
them, who survived the war and the bloody executions 
by Selim, had no claim to recognition as the ruling class 
in Egypt, other than their treachery to their fellow -Mame- 
lukes and their Sultan and the aid which they had given 
to the invaders. It will be seen that these surviving Mame- 
lukes soon regained full power in Egypt, and reduced the 
pashas appointed from Constantinople to puppets. 

Selim returned to his capital in 15 18. In the remaining 
two years of his Hfe there were no further military exploits. 
He made great preparations for another campaign. He 
added greatly to the strength of his navy. He built a 
hundred and fifty ships of war, many of them of great 
size for those days. It was generally believed that he 
intended an attack on Rhodes to avenge the defeat of his 
grandfather, the acquisition of which, lying' as it did across 
the route to Egypt, was of great importance. Before, 
however, any decision was arrived at, Selim died on his 
way to Adrianople, very near to the spot where his father 
had been poisoned by his orders. He left the reputation 
of being one of the ablest organizers of victory, bujt also 
the most cruel despot of the Othman line. It was for long a 
common expression with the Turks, by way of a curse, 
" May'st thou be a vizier to Sultan Selim." 



Selim was succeeded by his only son, Solyman, at .the 
age of twenty -six, who reig^ned for forty-six years, a period 
of unexampled splendour in the history of the Ottoman 
Empire — ^its culminating era. This was mainly due to 
the personal qualities of the new Sultan. He surpassed 
all his predecessors, and still more his degenerate successors, 
in dignity and graciousness. He was not behind the best 
of them in military capacity, vigour of action, and personal 
courage. He combined with these quahties statesmanship 
of high order. With rare exceptions he stood by his 
engagements and did not follow' the precept of the Koran 
that faith need not be kept with infidels. He was great 
as an administrator and legislator. Before he mounted 
the throne he had been employed by his father as governor 
of three very important provinces, and had gained a 
high reputation for his determination to secure justice to 
his subjects, whatever their race or creed. His private life 
was free from scandal. He was noted for his clemency 
and kindness of heart. If massacres took place after 
victories or after capture of fortresses when he was in 
command, it was because he could not restrain his turbulent 
and bloodthirsty Janissaries ; but the occasions of such scenes 
were comparatively rare. He had, however, a blend of 
cruelty in his character, as had most of his predecessors. 
Being an only son, he had no occasion, on mounting the 
throne, to carry out the fratricidal law of Mahomet II. But 
he was determined that there should be no possible rival in 
his family, however remote. After the surrender of Rhodes, 
two years later, on the promise of life and property to its 
defenders, he singled out, in breach of his promise, a son 


of Prince Djem, who was one of those included in the 
amnesty and directed the immediate execution of him and 
his four sons. Worse also than fratricide was the murder 
by Solyman of two of his own sons. The eldest of them, 
Mustapha, was a most promising prince. He had already 
shown his capacity as governor of a province. He was 
endowed with all his father's best qualities. He was the 
idol of the army and the hope of his country. 

Solyman was persuaded by his latest favourite concubine, 
a Russian lady, Ghowrem by name, who had unbounded 
influence over him and retained it till late in life, that Prince 
Mustapha was intriguing against him, and aimed at de- 
throning him, as Selim had done in the case of Bayezid. 
She hoped to secure the succession for her own son. With- 
out a word of warning or any opportunity of defending 
himself, Mustapha, in the course of the second Persian 
campaign in 1553, on entering his father's tent, was seized 
by the mutes and was strangled while Solyman looked on 
at the foul deed. There was more excuse for putting to 
death another son, Bayezid, who had been goaded by an 
intrigue in the Sultan's harem into taking up arms, in 1561, 
against his brother Selim. He was defeated and fled to 
Persia, where he was at first received with great honour 
by Shah Talmasp, the successor to Ismail, with the distinct 
promise tliat he would not be given up. But Solyman 
obtained his extradition by threat of war and the promise 
of 400,000 pieces of gold. The unfortunate prince was 
treated with the greatest indignity. His hair and beard 
were shorn. He was handed over, together with his four 
sons, to an emissary of his brother Selim, who at once 
put to death the whole party. 

As a result of the murders of these two sons of Solyman, 
a third one, the son of Ghowrem, was the only heir to the 
throne. He succeeded Solyman and was known as *' Selim 
the Sot." It will be seen that this prince had none of the 
qualities of his race. He was the first of a long line of 
degenerates who eventually lost the greater part of the 
Empire which had been built up by Solyman and his 

Though the office of Grand Vizier was not so dangerous 
to its holders as under Selim I, it proved to be fatal to 
two of the nine men who held it during Solyman's reign. 
One of the most remarkable incidents of Solyman's life 


was his infatuation for Ibrahim, the second of his Grand 
Viziers. Ibrahim, a renegade Greek by birth, had 
been captured as a boy bjy corsairs and sold as a slave to 
a widow in Magnesia, who brought him up as a Mussulman. 
Recognizing his talents, this lady gave him an excellent 
education. Solyman, on a visit to that province, came 
across Ibrahim, and, attracted by his musical talent, took 
him into service, where he rose to be master of the pages 
and grand falconer. He soon acquired immense influence 
over his master, whose sister was given to him in marriage. 
He was rapidly promoted, and in 1523 was appointed Grand 
Vizier. The Sultan and his favourite became inseparable. 
They had their meals alone together. They concerted 
between them all the affairs of State. Ibrahim justified this 
preference, for he proved to be of great capacity, not 
inferior in any respect to his master, and his superior in 
education and knowledge of languages and history. He 
was appointed Seraskier, or Commander-in-Chief, when the 
Sultan was unable personally to command. In the earlier 
campaigns in Hungary and Persia, and in the siege lof 
Vienna, he took a most active part, and was the main 
adviser to his master. 

After thirteen years of implicit confidence in Ibrahim, sus- 
picion arose in the mind of the Sultan and was fanned by 
the Sultana Ghowrem, who coveted the post of Grand Vizier 
for her son-in-law, Roostem Pasha. There does not appear 
to have been any ground for these suspicions, save that 
Ibrahim, intoxicated by his elevation, assumed the airs 
almost of an equal with the Sultan. A vizier suspected 
was very near to his doom. Entering the palace one 
day in 1536 to dine with the Sultan as usual, he was 
never seen alive again. The next morning his body was 
found in the palace. His immense wealth was confiscated to 
the State. It was said that Solyman in an adjoining room 
to that where this murder was perpetrated was smothered 
with kisses by Ghowrem so as to drown the cries of the 
dying Vizier. 

In another case, the Grand Vizier Ach'met was decapitated 
in the council chamber by order of Solyman, solely because 
he gave advice which displeased his master. Von Hammer 
gives a long list of other high officials who shared the 
same fate. 

During the forty -six years of his reign Solyman added 


enormously to the Empire. Belgrade, Rhodes, nearly the 
whole of Hungary, the Crimea, the great provinces of Mossul, 
Bagdad, and Bassorah, and a part of Armenia taken from 
Persia, Yemen and Aden in Arabia, Algiers, Oran, and 
Tripoli, and an undefined extent of hinterland inhabited by 
Arabs in North Africa, and a wide extension of Egypt in the 
direction of Nubia, were the contributions which he trans- 
mitted to his successors. There were few years of his long 
reign in which he was not under arms. War with Hungary 
and Austria in the north alternated with! war with Persia in 
the east and with Spain in the west. Solyman was often in 
command of his armies. He conducted personally thirteen 
campaigns, some of them, such as those against Persia, 
extending over tw^o years. For the most part these wars 
were embarked on without any just or even plausible 
cause. They were stimulated by lust of conquest on the 
Sultan's part, and by craving for active service and for 
loot on the part of the Janissaries. Religious fanaticism 
seems to have had little concern with the motives or results 
of them. [ 

Solyman*s first campaigti, in 1521, was directed against 
Belgrade, the city which had successfully defied Mahomet II'. 
He marched against it at the head of an army o,f a himdred 
thousand men with three hundred guns. It was bravely 
defended by the Hungarians. But they had no guns. After 
seven days of bombardment the city was assaulted and 
captured. There was no massacre of the garrison or the 
inhabitants. Solyman converted the principal church into 
a mosque. The city was thenceforth garrisoned by a 
Turkish force. It constituted the principal stronghold of 
the Empire on the Danube, and was the gateway for many 
invasions of Hungary. 

In the next year, 1523, Solyman followed up this success 
by an attack on the island of Rhodes, where Mahomet had 
also failed, and the capture of which had become !niore 
important since the conquest of Egypt, lying as it did on 
the direct route by sea from Constantinople. For this 
purpose Solyman sent a fleet of three hundred vessels with 
eight thousand Janissaries and a hundred siege guns. 
He marched at the head of a hundred thousand men 
through Asia Minor to the bay of Marmerice, opposite to 
Rhodes, whence they were conveyed to the island. The 
knig-hts, six hundred in number, with only five thousand 


trained soldiers and a levee of peasants on the island, 
made a heroic defence under thteir Grand Master, de 
Lisle Adam. It was only after a siege of nine months 
that they were at last compelled to capitulate. It was 
the first occasion on which a great fortress was approached 
by sap and spade work, so as to avoid gun fire, and in which 
bombs were used by the attacking' army. Solyman's army 
is said to have lost fifty thotisand men in casualties 0,nd 
as many more by disease. Under the terms of capitulation, 
the survivors of the garrison with all their personal property 
w'e're to be conveyed to Crete, after twelve days, in their own 
galleys. After an interview with the Grand Master the Sultan 
is reported to have said, with great generosity, ** It is not 
without regret that I force this brave man from his home 
in his old age." The arms of the knights are still to be 
seen carved on the houses they occupied in Rhodes. The 
Turks have always respected them in memory of the gallant 
defence. The terms of surrender were faithfully observed by 
Solyman with the exception already referred to. The knights 
eventually settled at Malta, at that time a nearly desert 
island. They made it the seat of their order and fortified 
it. Its central position in the Mediterranean made it ^ 
stronghold of the utmost importance. Solyman, in the 
last year but one of his long reign, thought it necessaty 
for the expansion of his Empire, in the North of Africa, to 
oust the knights from their new' nest. He sent an army and 
a fleet under command of Piale Reis to besiege it. There 
commenced another celebrated siege in which the knights, 
under command of their Grand Master, Lavallette, covered 
themselves with glory. The Turks were defeated in many 
assaults on the fortress, and were ultimately compelled to 
withdraw with heavy losses. 

The two years after the conquest of Rhodes were spent 
by Solyman in organizing his kingdom. His inaction was 
greatly resented by the Janissaries, who hated their dull 
life in barracks and longied for war and for loot. They 
broke out in revolt and pillaged the houses of Ibrahim 
and other great functionaries. The outbreak was quelled, 
Solyman killing with his own hand three of the rebels. 
Their Agha and other leaders were put to death. But 
Solyman found it expedient to appease the mercenaries 
by g'enerous presents, and in the next year — mainly ^t 
their instigation — embarked pn another war. He was urged 


to invade Hungary by Francis I, King of France, who 
hoped to create a diversion from the ambitious projects of 
the Emperor Charles V. This may be considered as the 
first entry of the Turks into the maze of European politics. 
Hungary and Bohemia were at that time united under the 
rule of Louis IP, a very young and inexperienced man. 

In April, 1526, Solyman and his Grand Vizier, Ibtahim, 
with a hundred thousand men and three hundred guns, 
marched to Belgrade, and thence invaded Hungary. On 
August 27th, five months after their departure from Con- 
stantinople, they met the Hungarian army at MJohacz, not far 
from the Danube, and about halfway from Belgrade to Buda, 
then, as now, the capital of Hungary. The battle was 
quickly decided. The Ottoman army had the advantage of 
an overwhelming superiority both of men and guns. The 
Hungarians were defeated. Their King", eight bishops, a 
great majority of the Hungarian nobles, and twenty-four 
thousand men were killed. This decided the fate of 
Hungary. Before marching onwards, Solyman ordered 
all the prisoners he had taken — four thousand in number 
— to be put to death. He reached Buda on Sep- 
tember loth. The city surrendered. Solyman received 
there the submission of a number of Hungarian nobles 
who had survived the disaster of Mohacz. At his instance, 
Count Zapolya, one of the magnates of Hungary and 
Voivode of Transylvania, was elected by them as King 
of Hungary in succession to Louis IP, who had left no 
heir. Solyman shortly after this — influenced in part by 
news of civil disturbance in Asia Minor — left Buda and 
retreated to the Danube, and thence returned to his capital. 
The temporary occupation of part of Hungary had been 
attended with fearful devastation and with great loss of 
life to its population. It was estimated that two hundred 
thousand men were massacred. The retreating army 
carried off an immense booty and drove before them 
about a hundred thousand captives of both sexes, who 
were eventually sold as slaves at Constantinople. Garrisons 
were left by the Turks in some of the frontier fortresses of 

The election of Count Zapolya as King of Hungary 
under the dictation of the Turks led to civil war in that 
country. Archduke Ferdinand, brother of Charles V, 
Xq whom the Emperor had transferred his Archduchy of 


Austria, claimed the throne of Hungary, by virtue of a treaty 
between the Emperor and the late King Louis. On the 
other hand, it was claimed by Zapolya and his adherents 
that, under an ancient law of Hungary, no one but a native 
could be elected as King. In spite of this, the nobles of 
Western Hungary met in Diet at Presburg and elected 
Ferdinand. Ferdinand appealed to arms, and was supported 
by the Austrians. He defeated his rival. Zapolya was driven 
from the country. He fled to Poland, and thence he appealed 
to the Sultan for aid in support of his claims in Hungary. 
Ferdinand, hearing of this, sent an envoy to the Sultan. 
Most unwisely, he not only claimed assistance in support 
of his claims to the throne of Hungary, but he demanded 
that Belgrade and other towns in Hungary in possession 
of the Sultan should be given up. Ibrahim, the Grand 
Vizier, who conducted the negotiations with the two rivals, 
was most arrogant. He claimed that every place where the 
hoofs of the Sultan's horses had once trod became at once 
and for ever part of the Ottoman Empire. *' We have 
slain," he said, ** King Louis of Hungary. His kingdom 
is now ours to hold or to give to whom we^ list. It is not 
the crown that makes the King; it is the sword. It is the 
sword that brings men into subjection ; and what the 
sword has won the sword will keep." 

The Sultan decided against Ferdinand and said to 
Zapolya's envoy, " I will be a true friend to thy master. 
I will march in person to aid him. 1 swear it by our 
Prophet Mahomet, the beloved of God, and by my sabre." 
To the rival's agent he said that he would speedily visit 
Ferdinand and drive him from the king'dom he had stolen. 
" Tell him that I will look for him on the field of Mohacz 
or even in Buda, and if he fail to meet me there, I 
will offer him battle beneath the walls of Vienna." 

In pursuance of these threats, Solyman, in 1529, at 
the head of two hundred and fifty thousand men and with 
three hundred guns, again invaded Hungary and laid siege 
to Buda. The city surrendered at the instance of traitors 
among its defenders. Under the terms of capitulation 
life and property were to be preserved to. the garrison and 
the citizens. The Janissaries, furious at the loss of loot, 
refused to recognize the terms. They massacred all the 
garrison as they issued from the fortress, and they carried 
off for sale most of the young women of the town. Zapolya 


was reinstated as a vassal King" of that part of Hungary. 
Solyman then marched on to Vienna, He arrived there 
on September 27, 1529, with over two hundred thousand 
men. There ensued the first of the two memorable sieges 
of Vienna by the Ottomans. 

Charles V, Emperor of Germany, was at this time the 
greatest and most powerful sovereign in Europe. He had 
inherited the kingdoms of Spain, the Netherlands, Naples 
and Sicily, as well as his possessions in Germany. Born 
six years later than Solyman, he was elected Emperor of 
Germany a year before the accession of Solyman as Sultan. 
He abdicated his throne and retired to a monastery ten 
years before the death of Solyman. For thirty -six years, 
therefore, their reigns were synchronous. It would be hard 
to say which of the two sovereigns was the more valiant 
in arms, or the more astute statesman. Judged by the 
extent of conquests, Solyman far surpassed his rival. 
Charles did little more than maintain the integrity of his 
immense inherited possessions in Europe. But he acquired 
by conquest Tunis in Africa, and Mexico and Peru in 

When Solyman, instigated by Francis I of France, was 
invading Austria, Charles was deeply engaged in war against 
France in Italy, and could not send an army to meet the 
Ottomans in the field. Vienna was left to stand the brunt 
of invasion without a protecting' army. Its garrison con- 
sisted of only sixteen thousand soldiers under Count de 
Salms. Its fortifications were only a continuous wall 5 feet 
in thickness and without bastions. Its guns were only 
seventy -two in number. Such weak defences seemed to offer 
little hope against the overwhelming numbers of the Otto- 
mans. The tents of the Sultan and his army whitened the 
whole plain round the city. Irregular cavalry, called 
Scorchers, depending on loot for their food and pay, ravaged 
the country for miles round the city with incredible cruelty 
and rapacity. A Turkish flotilla of four hundred small 
vessels found its way up the Danube, after destroying all 
bridges, and lent assistance to the siege. It was all in vain. 
The Austrian and Spanish troops under the Count de Salms 
defended the weak lines with the utmost courage and 
tenacity. The Viennese citizens constructed lines of earth- 
works within the walls, against which the lighter guns of 
the Turks had little effect. The powerful siege guns of 


the Ottomans had been left behind en route^ owing to heavy 
rains and the badness of roads. Numerous assaults were 
made by the Turks. The soldiers were at last dispirited by 
failure. In vain their officers drove them on by sticks and 
sabres. The men said they preferred death from their 
officers to death from the long arquebuses of the Spaniards. 
Twenty ducats a head were given or promised to them. 
It was to no purpose. Solyman^ after three weeks of 
fruitless assaults, found himself compelled to raise the 
siege, and to retreat with his great army. His irregulars 
had so ravaged the country that he had the utmost difficulty 
in feeding his men. 

Before striking the camp all the immense booty taken in 
the campaign was burnt. The prisoners, most of them the 
peasantry of the district round Vienna, were massacred. 
Only the fairest of the young women were carried off 
captives to be sold as slaves. The Sultan returned to Con- 
stantinople. There was no pursuit of his army. It came 
back intact. It was a slur on the fame of Solyman that 
he endeavoured to conceal his failure to capture Vienna by 
lying accounts of success, and by a popular celebration of 
triumph, on return to his capital. There was this much 
to be said for him, that he had flouted the Austrians, by 
invading their country and devastating it up to the walls 
of Vienna, without any attempt, -on their part, to meet him 
in the field or to follow him up on his retreat. 

Three years later, in 1532, Solyman, with another 
immense army, again invaded Hungary, with the avowed 
object of marching to Vienna and attacking the army of 
the Emperor. Charles V, on this occasion, took com- 
mand of the Austrian army. It was expected that a trial 
of strength would take place between the two potentates, 
and would decide which of them was the stronger. But 
Solyman's progress was delayed by the heroic defence for 
three weeks of the small fortress of Guns. After its capture 
Solyman made no further advance towards Vienna, but 
turned aside and devastated Styria, and then led his army 
homeward. The Emperor, on his part, made no effort 
to meet his foe and join conclusions with him. It was 
evident that both of them were anxious to avoid the issue 
of a great battle. 

Though the Sultan had retreated and had returned to 
Constantinople, peace was not concluded, and a desultory 


war was continued for some years between Ferdinand and 
Zapolya. Peace was concluded in 1538, under which 
Zapolya was to retain the title of King of Eastern Hungary 
and Transylvania and Ferdinand was acknowledged ruler 
of the western half. In 1566 Solyman again invaded Hun- 
gary, on his thirteenth and last campaign, to which we will 
revert later. 

We have thus described briefly the course of events 
between the Turks and the Hungarians, supported by 
Austria. Though the conquests of Solyman in this direc- 
tion had been arrested by his failure to capture Vienna, he 
succeeded in securing virtual possession of the greater part 
of Hungary. 

It is necessary to revert to Solyman's feats in other 
directions. In 1534 he entered upon his sixth campaign, 
this time against Persia. Shah Ismail was nO' longer alive, 
and had been succeeded by Shah Talmasp, a very weak 
personage. Solyman, as a prelude to his attack, gave 
orders for the execution of all the Persian prisoners at 
Gallipoli. Ibrahim was sent on, in advance, by some 
months, with a large army. Instead of marching by 
Aleppo to Bagdad, he took the route direct to Tabriz, 
which he occupied without resistance on the part of the 
Persians. He wintered there, and the next spring he was 
joined by Solyman with another army, and together they 
marched to Mossul and Bagdad, through a most difficult 
country, where the climate entailed great losses on the 
army. Bagdad was ultimately reached. It was treacher- 
ously surrendered by its commander. In fact, the Shah 
made no attempt to repel the invasion of the Ottoman 
army, and the two great provinces of Mossul and Bagdad 
were added to the Ottoman Emipire, without any pitched 
battle on the part of Persia. 

There were other campaigns in Persia in 1548, 1553, 
and 1554, in which the Turks often suffered more from 
the climate and from the difficulty of obtaining supplies 
than from the guerrilla attacks of the Persians. But there 
was no pitched battle between the armies of the two Powers. 
The Turks maintained their conquests, and have done so 
to the present year (19 17). 

Not less remarkable during the long reign of Solyman 
than his conquests by his army were the exploits of his 
navy. It achieved victory in many hard -fought battleg 


with Spain and Venice. There was no g'reat disparity in 
naval force between the Turks and the Spaniards, hut when 
the fleets of Venice and the Pope were combined with 
those of Spain, there was great superiority on their part 
in the number and size of vessels. In spite of this, in the 
two great battles where this combination was against them', 
the Turks -were victorious, and generally, throughout 
Solyman*s reign, his fleets maintained a supremacy in the 
Mediterranean. This enabled him to add to his Empire 
the provinces of Algiers, Oran, and Tripoli, and numerous 
islands in the JEgesm Sea, taken from Venice. 

The Mussulman States of North Africa, at the com'- 
mencement of Solyman's reign, were in the hands of 
degenerate and incompetent Mahommedan rulers, who 
exercised little control over the Arabs of the hinterland. 
The cities on the coast were the haunts of pirates, iwho 
sometimes sailed under the flags of these States, but more 
often under no flag but their own. They preyed on the 
commerce of the Mediterranean, bringing their prizes into 
their ports and selling the captives as slaves, with' the 
result that in Tunis alone there were twenty thousand 
Christian captives. These corsairs formed squadrons of ten 
or twenty galleys, under the command of admirals, chosen 
from the most daring and adventurous of thetn. They 
were called corsairs, but, in fact, they were mere pirates, 
knowing no law but their own, and that foimded on robbery 
and murder. The sea-dog^s in command of these pirates 
gained great experience in handling their ships and 
squadrons. They ravaged the coasts of Spain, Italy, and 
France, and even occasionally of Eng'land and Ireland, 
devastating the cities and villages and carrying away booty 
and captives. 

It has been shown that Selim paid great attention to 
his navy, and increased his ships in number and size. 
Solyman followed the same course. But his admirals and 
captains did not compare in skill and daring with those 
of the pirate squadrons. When Solyman becamie aware 
of this, he most astutely invited the ablest and most 
experienced of these pirates to take service under the 
Ottoman flag, and to bring with them' their ships and 
men. He gave high appointments to them, raised them 
to the rank of admirals and comlmJanderfe -in -chief of his 
naVy, over the heads of the officers of his reglilar service, 


The first and most distinguished of these corsairs to 
take naval service under Solyman was Kheireddin, better 
known in history as Barbarossa. He was one of four 
brothers, of Greek descent, bom in Mytilene, three of 
whom in early life took to piracy as a profession, under 
the pretence of legitimate commerce at sea. Two of them 
eventually lost their lives in the venture, but the third 
survived, prospered, and made money. He collected a 
squadron under his command and became the terror of 
the whole Mediterranean, capturing merchant vessels and 
devastating the coasts in all directions. Gathering strength 
in number of ships and men, he made war on his own 
account. He attacked Algiers and made himself master 
of that city and its surrounding district. But finding him- 
self unequal to the task of maintaining an independent 
rule there, he recognized the supremacy of the Sultan 
of Turkey. 'He carried on his ships seventy thousand 
fugitive Moors from Andalusia, in Spain, and settled them 
at Algiers. Later, he was employed by Solymjan in an 
attack on Tunis, which was then under the rule of Muley- 
Hasan, the twenty -second representative of the dynasty of 
Boni Hafss — a degenerate reprobate, who had murdered 
all but one of his forty -four brothers on his accession 
to the throne, and who spent his energies in recruiting 
a harem of four hundred good-looking lads. On the 
pretext of putting an end to this infamy, Barbarossa 
attacked the city of Tunis, and had no difficulty in getting 
possession of it and expelling the contemptible Sultan. He 
did not, however, remain m^y months in pK)ssession of 
it. Muley -Hasan appealed to the Emperor Charles for aid. 

The Emperor, in personal command of a fleet of five 
hundred vessels and an army of thirty thousand men, 
attacked and defeated Barbarossa in a battle before the 
waUs of Tunis, captured his vessels lying there, and drove 
him into the interior of the country. Although he had 
come there at the invitation of the Sultan of Tunis, ,and 
the inhabitants of the city had given no assistance to 
Barbarossa in defending it against the Spanish attack, the 
Emperor allowed his soldiers to sack it after the capture. 
A scene of almost incredible cruelty and destruction took 
place. Thirty thousand of the innocent inhabitants were 
massacred, and ten thousand were sold into captivity. The 
miosques and all the principal buildings were burnt and 


destroyed. No worse deed was ever perpetrated by any 
victorious Moslem army in that agie. It resulted that 
Tunis, for a time, was rescued from' Barbarossa and 
from Ottoman rule. Muley-Hasan was reinstated there on 
terms of close dependence on Spain. It was not till 1574 
that Tunis finally fell into the hands of the Turks. 

Barbarossa had made a splendid defence of the city. 
His force was quite inadequate for the purpose. Solyman 
was at - the time engaged in war with Persia and could 
not give adequate support. Shortly after this, when war 
broke out between the Ottomans and Spain, the Sultan 
invited Barbarossa to Constantinople, and made him Grand 
Admiral of the Turkish fleet. In this capacity he fought 
in 1538 a great naval battle off Prevesa against the com- 
bined fleets of Spain, Venice, and the Pope, under Admiral 
Andrea Doria, in which he achieved victory, in spite of 
great inferiority of numbers and size of vessels. He 
appears to have been the first to adopt the manoeuvre of 
breaking the line of the enemy's fleet, for which three 
centuries later Nelson was so famous. The Turkish fleet 
numbered a hundred and thirty vessels, and that of the 
combined Christian Powers a hulndred and sixty-seven. 
Six of the latter were captured and destroyed. The main 
body of the combined fleet drew off, under cover of the 
night. Later, Barbarossa accompanied Solymlan in the 
attack on Corfu, which was heroically defended by the 
Venetians. The Sultan was compelled to withdraw from 
the island. 

This faflure at Corfu, and that before Vienna, were the 
only reverses which Solyman personally encountered in his 
numerous camf)aigns. Barbarossa, how^ever, in the course 
of the war with the Venetians, succeeded in capturing 
from them all the many islands which they possessed in 
the ^gean Sea, with the exception of Crete and the few 
fortified places they held in the Morea. These were his 
last exploits. He died at Constantinople in 1546. 

Others, however, of the same brood of corsairs or pirates 
succeeded Barbarossa in the Turkish navy, and maintained 
its reputation for successful daring. The most distinguished 
of them were Dragut ' (or Torghut) and Piale, both of 
them renegade subjects of Turkey who had taken to piracy 
as a profession. Dragut, a Croatian by birth, closely re- 
sembled Barbarossa in his career, in his prowess at sea, 


and in the terror which he created on the coasts of Italy 
and Spain. He had little respect for the allies of the 
Sultan, and captured their vessels as readily as those of 
his enemies. When called to account by the Porte for 
the destruction of some Venetian merchant ships, and sum- 
moned to Constantinople, he declined to go there, well 
knowing the fate in store for him. He betook himself, with 
his pirate squadron, to Morocco, which he made the base 
for piracy for some years. Later, Solymlan, finding the 
need of such a daring spirit, invited him again to take 
service under the Ottoman flag, and promised to [make 
him Governor of Tripoli, if he coujld capture it. Tripoli 
then belonged to the Knights of St. John at Malta. Dragut 
attacked and captured it, and annexed it to the Turkish 
Empire. Eventually Dragut was appointed Governor of 
Tripoli and, in this capacity, led a fleet in aid of the attack 
on Malta in 1565. He lost his life in an assault on the city. 

Another such corsair was Piale, who, in his turn, after 
a long spell of piracy, was taken into the Ottoman naval 
service by Solyman, and rose to be commander-in-chief. 
He defeated the combined fleet of Spain, Venice, and the 
Pope, under command of Andrea Doria, sent to recapture 
Tripoli. He attacked and annexed for the Turks the 
province of Oran, on the African coast, westward of 
Algiers. He commanded the Turkish fleet in the attack 
on Malta in 1565, the last naval enterprise in Solyman's 

It was not only in the Mediterranean that Solyman's 
navy was active. A fleet was fitted out at Suez, [under 
command of Piri Pasha. It secured to Turkey the com- 
mand of the Red Sea and enabled the capture of Aden 
and Yemen. It extended its operations thence to the 
Persian Gulf and the coast of India, where it came into 
conflict with the Portuguese, who beat off the Ottoman 

The failure of the expedition to Malta, though he was 
not in personal command, appears to have weighed heavily 
on the mind of Solyman. It was his ambition to finish 
his career by a success as signal and important as that 
against Belgrade, in the first year of his reign. He deter- 
mined to take command himself of the army which was 
to make another invasion of Himgary in 1566, in spite 
of his seventy -two years and the feeble state of his health. 


He was not able to mount his horse. He was carried in 
a litter at the head of his army.. It was his special wish 
to capture Szigeth and Erlau, which had successfully re- 
sisted Ottoman attack on the last invasion. He appears 
to have directed the march of his army in the minutest 
detail. One of his pashas accomplished a march in one 
day which he was instructed to effect in two days. Solyman 
was incensed and directed the execution of the over- 
zealous pasha, and with difficulty w,as dissuaded from this 
by his Grand Vizier. 

The great Sultan died unexpectedly in his tent from 
apoplexy during the siege of Szigeth, before the capture 
of this city and while the guns of his army were thunder- 
ing against its citadel, most bravely defended by Nicholas 
Zriny— a fitting end to the old warrior. His death was 
for long concealed from the army. The Grand Vizier 
directed the execution of the Sultan's physician, lest |he 
should divulge the secret. Solyman's body was embalmed 
and was carried in the royal litter during the remainder 
of the short campaign in Hungary, and orders were stOl 
given to the army in the nam'e of the defunct Sultan. It 
was not till news came that Selim had arrived at Belgrade 
from his government in Asia Minor that the army, on 
its homeward march, was informed of the death of the 
great Sultan. 

This was the last of Solyman's thirteen campaigns in 
which he led his armies personally on the field. There 
were others in which his generals commanded. It is to 
be observed of all of them that there was only one 
case in which' a pitched battle of any great importance 
was fought on land. The single case was that of Mohacz, 
already referred to, where the Ottoman army greatly ex- 
ceeded in number that of the Hungarians opposed to, it, 
and was provided with a park of artillery, in which (the 
enemy was wholly deficient. The result, therefore, was 
never in doubt. With that exception, there was no great 
battle either with the Hungarians, the Austrians, or the 
Persians. The campaigns consisted of invasions by great 
armies of the Ottomans, with heavy parks of artillery, 
and with large forces of irregular cavalry, who ravaged 
and devastated the invaded country. The generals opposed 
to them, not being able to meet the Turks in the field, 
spread their forces in numerous fortresses, more or less 


strong, and the campaigns consisted in besieging these 
fortresses. With rare exceptions, these sieges were suc- 
cessful. The Turks brought overwhelming forces to bear 
on them. Their siege guns completely overmatched the 
guns of the defence. It was a question of a few days or 
a few weeks how long these fortresses could resist. The 
wonder is that many of them resisted so long. The usual 
course of such campaigns was that the Turks, having cap- 
tured the fortresses in the invaded districts, either annexed 
them to their Empire, as in the case of Eastern Hungary and 
Mesopotamia, or comf>elled the vanquished State to acknow- 
ledge the suzerainty of the Sultan and to pay tribute, as 
in the case of Western Hungary, or retired, leaving the 
ravaged country so destitute of supplies that the enemy 
could not follow up the retreating army. 

Solyman was almost always successful in his cam- 
paigns — but they do not entitle him to a pJace in the first 
rank of great generals who have earned their laurels by 
defeating opponents not unequal in number in the open 
field. Practically, there was only one sovereign in Europe 
— namely the Emperor Charles V — and no one in Asia, 
who could hope to meet Solyman on equal terms on the 
battlefield, and the Emperor evidently did not care to 
measure swords with him in the open. 

If these considerations detract from the military fame 
of Solyman, they do not lessen his reputation as an 
empire -builder and as an organizer of campaigns of 
invasion. Seldom has an Empire been extended to such 
an extent as that of the Ottomans under his efforts, with so 
little expenditure of life or of the resources of the State. 
Solyman evidently made it his task to run no risk of 
failure, but to use such overwhelming force as made 
resistance all but impossible. 

To put in the field these enormous armies, supported by 
large masses of cavalry and great parks of artillery, to 
transport them from Constantinople to the centre of 
Hungary, or from Scutari to the frontiers of Persia, re- 
quiring many weeks or months, was to perform a Vv'-ork of 
organization of the first order. In the long course of his 
reign and the many expeditions led by himself and his 
generals, the only failure to supply his armies in the field 
with food and munitions of war was in the attack on Vienna. 
Solyman had also unerring judgment and success in select- 



ing his generals iSLjid other agents in his many campaigns. 
The same may be said of his naval campaigns, in which 
he took no personal part, and where success turned upon 
the selection of competent admirals to command his fleets. 
What a stroke of genius it was to go outside the profes- 
sional men of his naval service, and to put at the head 
of his fleets and of his naval administration, such men 
as Barbarossa, Dragut, Piale, and others, who had gained 
experience and had made their reputation as freebooters 
and pirates I It was due mainly to this that the Ottomans 
acquired a virtual supremacy in the Mediterranean, that 
Algiers, Oran, and Tripoli were brought under the Empire, 
and that a fleet fitted out at Suez enabled the conquest of 
Aden and Yemen. 

It was not, however, only in military and naval 
successes and in the additions to his Empire that Solyman 
showed his greatness. His firm and resolute, yet sym- 
pathetic, policy made its mark in every department of 
the State. He insisted on impartial justice to every class 
throughout his Empire. Governors of provinces, or other 
high officials, who erred in this respect, and who were 
guilty of injustice and cruelty, or who were corrupt and 
incompetent, were at once dismissed, and not unfrequently 
paid the penalty of death for their crimes. His very first 
act on becoming Sultan was to order the dismissal of a 
batch of unjust and corrupt officials. Von Hammer's pages 
are full of other instances of the same kind throughout 
Solyman's reign. He made no exception for favoured 
persons, however near to the throne. Ferard Pasha, who 
was married to one of the Sultan's two daughters, was 
dismissed from the governorship of a province for gross 
acts of injustice, cruelty, and corruption. By the urgent 
entreaties of his wife, and of the Sultan's mother, Ferar^d 
obtained another appointment. But on the renewal of his 
misdeeds he was again dismissed, and, this time, was put 
to death by order of the Sultan. 

The finance of thb Empire under Solyman was most 
carefully husbanded. He fully recognized the strength 
given to his country by a well -filled treasury. In spite of 
his many wars, there were only two years in which he 
found it necessary to levy exceptional taxes. In other 
years the ordinary revenue sufficed. Taxation was com- 
paratively light. His wars in -part paid for themselves by 


levies and exactions on the invaded countries, and by the 
sale of captives. Janissaries and Spahis, numbering 
together about fifty thousand, formed the standing army, 
and were well paid. The holders of fiefs throughout the 
Empire were bound to military service in time of war, and 
to bring horses and arms. They numbered about eighty 
thousand, and received no pay. Neither did the horde of 
irregular cavalry, Tartars, and others who accompanied his 
armies, receive pay. They provided for themselves by 
ravaging the countries they passed through. Under these 
conditions, the wars of Solyman were not burdensome to 
the State. 1 

Like so many of his predecessors, Solyman had a strong 
bent to literary studies and poetry. His poems have a 
reputation among his countrymen for dignity. He com- 
piled a daily journal of his campaigns which is of historical 
value. He was a liberal patron of science and art. His 
reign was the Augustan age of Turkey. He was generous 
in his expenditure on mosques, colleges, hospitals, aqueducts, 
and bridges, not only in Constantinople, but in all the 
principal cities of his Empire. 

It is to be noted that the sobriquet * Magnificent ' was 
given to Solyman by contemporaries in Europe. In Turkey 
he was known as * the Legislator.' His reign was con- 
spicuous for great reforms in every branch of the law — 
all aimed at justice. The land laws were overhauled. The 
feudal system of fiefs, which had been partially adopted on 
the model of other countries in Europe, was simplified and 
\mproved. The position of the ' rayas,' was ameliorated. 
Something like fixity of tenure was secured to them. The 
condition of the peasantry in Turkey was distinctly better 
than that of the serfs in Hungary and Russia. The 
Greek population of the Morea preferred Turkish' rule 
to that of the Venetians. A certain number of Hungarian 
peasants voluntarily left their country and settled under 
the more humane government of Turkey in Roumelia. 
A further proof of the general contentment of the 
people through the gireat expanse of the Turkish Empire 
was that during^ the forty-six years of Solyman's reigti 
there was no outbreak among any one of the twenty different 
races which inhabited it — and this in spite of the fact that 
the country districts were denuded of troops for the many 
campaigns in Hungary and Persia. 


While giving Solyman full credit for all these great 
achievements of his reign, it is necessary to point out that 
impartial historians have detected defects in his system' 
of government, which grew apace under his incompetent 
successors, and led inevitably to the decadence of the 
Ottoman Empire. 

A Turkish historian, Kotchi Bey, who wrote on the 
decline of the Ottoman Empire in 1623, about sixty years 
after the death of Solyman, and who has been described 
by Von Hammer as the Turkish Montesquieu, attributed 
the decline in great part to the following causes : — 

1 . The cessation in Solyman 's time of the regular 
attendance of the Sultan at the meetings of the Divan, or 
great Council of State. Solyman had a window constructed 
in an adjoining room opening into the council chamber, 
where, hidden behind a veil, he could listen to the dis- 
cussions of the Divan without taking a part in them. His 
successors ceased even to listen from behind the veil. This 
absence of the Sultan from his Council added to his arbi- 
trary power and belittled the influence of his ministers. 
So long as a very competent man like Solyman was on 
the throne, this new practice may not have produced the 
worst results, but in the case of his incompetent successors 
it led to immense evils. The Sultan was finally swayed in 
his decisions not by his responsible ministers or his Grand 
Council, but by the inmates of his harem or by other 
irresponsible and corrupt outsiders. 

2. The habit introduced by Solyman of appointing men 
to high office v/ho had not passed through the grades of 
lower offices. The first and most conspicuous case of 
this kind v/as the promotion of Ibrahim, the favourite com- 
panion of Solyman, from the post of Master of the Pages 
in the Sultan's household to that of Grand Vizier. 
Numerous other cases could be quoted of a less conspicuous 
character. Solyman, in fact, appointed outsiders to every 
kind of ofifice, however important. Eunuchs and renegades 
of all kinds were elevated to the highest posts. Solyman 
himself appears to liave been a very glood judge of men, 
and rarely hiade mistakes in his appointments, but his 
successors had no such discernment, and appointments were 
conferred at the 'caprice, or under the influence of fthe 
harem or otherwise, on the most unfit persons. 

3. The venality and corruption first practised by Roostem 


Pasha, who was Grand Vizier for fifteen years, and who 
was married to Solyman's daughter. The principal merit 
of Roostem in the eyes of his master was his skill in 
replenishing the treasury. Among the means he adopted 
of raising money was the exaction of large payments from 
persons on their appointment to civil offices in the State. 
These payments in Solyman's time were fixed in a definite 
proportion to the salaries. They were not adopted in the 
military and naval services. Under later Sultans they 
became arbitrary and exorbitant, and were extended to the 
army and navy. Practically appointments of all kinds were 
put up to auction and given to the highest bidder. In 
order to meet these payments on appointment, governors 
of provinces and all officials, down to the lowest, were 
induced to adopt corrupt practices of all kinds and the 
sense of public duty was destroyed. 

4. The evil practice introduced by Solyman of heaping 
favours on his favourite viziers, or of ailovving them to 
amass wealth by selling their favours to those below them 
in the official hierarchy. Ibrahim, who was Grand Vizier 
for thirteen years, and Roostem for fifteen years, amassed 
enormous fortunes. They set up a standard of extravagant 
life, which was followed by other viziers and high officials. 
Roostem on his death was possessed of 8 i 5 farms in Anatolia 
and Roumelia, 476 watermills, 1,700 slaves, 2,900 coats 
of mail, 8,000 turbans, 760 sabres, 600 copies of the 
Koran, 5,000 books, and two millions of ducats. His 
example in gaining wealth was followed by others in a 
minor degree according to their opportunities. High 
ofi'ice came to be regarded as a means and opportunity 
of acquiring great wealth, and this evil rapidly spread 
throughout the Empire and led to corruption and extortion. 

There was a corrective, or perhaps it should be called 
a nemesis to this, in the fact that when an official was 
put to death, by order of the Sultan, his property was con- 
fiscated to the State. Ibrahim's immense wealth was thus 
dealt with, and even in Solyman's time, and much more 
so in those of his successors, the confiscated fortunes of 
viziers, governors, and other officials sentenced to death 
formed an important item in the annual income of the 
State. There can be little doubt that not a few pashas 
were put to death by the successors of Solyman in order 
that the State might benefit from the confiscation of their 


fortunes. It was perhaps thought that the mere fact of 
accumulation of wealth by an official was sufficient proof 
that it had been improperly acquired, and that the holder 
deserved to lose his life and fortune. 

There may be added to these causes of ultimate deca- 
dence pointed out by the Turkish historian another which 
must occur to those who closely study the reign of Solyman 
— namely the growing influence in State afifairs of the Sultan's 
harem. The fall and death of Ibrahim, the murder of Prince 
Mustapha, and the rebellion and consequent death of Prince 
Bayezid were mainly due to intrigues of the harem. Great 
as Solyman was, he fell under the evil influence of his 
favourite Sultana, the Russian Ghowrem, better known in 
history as Roxelana. Ghowrem was not only a most seduc- 
tive concubine; she was a very clever and witty woman, 
with a grqat gift of conversation. She retained her influ- 
ence over Solyman when age had reduced her personal 
charms. By the entreaties of the Sultan's mother, who 
perceived the malign influence of this woman over her 
son^ she was for a time got rid of from the Seraglio, 
But Solyman could not forget her, and insisted on her 
recall. Ghowrem celebrated her triumph by getting the 
consent of the Sukan to many executions. Thenceforth 
till her death her influence was unbounded. " I live with 
the Sultan," she said, ** and make him' do what I wish." 
Appointments to the highest offices were made at her 
instance and abuses of all kinds arose. But worst of all 
was the precedent that- was set for the interference of 
the harem in matters of State. 

With Solyman 's successors the influence of the harem 
was continually a growing one, and was generally, though 
not always, as will be seen, a danger to the State. It 
became increasingly necessary for a minister who hoped 
to retain his post to secure personal support in the Sultan's 
harem. The harem itself became the centre of intrigue 
and corruption, with fatal effect on the interests of the 
State. But worst of all dangers to the Empire was the 
possibility — nay, the probability — that the succession of the 
great man at the helm' of State able to restrain the law- 
lessness of the Janissaries, the fanaticism of the mullahs, 
and the corruption of pashas might not be maintained. 
Solyman never did a worse deed for the future of the 
Empire than when he put to de,ath his eldest son, who 


had proved himself to be in every way fit to succeed him 
as Sultan, and when later, at th^ instance of Ghowrem, 
he secured the succession of his son Selim. He knew 
that Selim was a worthless and dissolute drunkard. He 
is said to have remonstrated with his son and endeavoured 
to induce him to reform his conduct. It will be seen that 
it was in vain. The succession of Selim was a nemesis 
for the murder of Mustapha. He was the first of a long 
line of degenerates, who ruined the great work of Solyman 
and his predecessors . 

In spite of this crime and of the base murder of 
his most intimate friend and servant, Ibrahim, in spite 
of the inception of the grave abuses we have referred to, 
it must be admitted, on an impartial review of Solyman's 
reign, that Solyman was the greatest of the Othman race 
who created the Empire, and that in a generation of famous 
rulers in Europe, including Charles V, Francis I, Leo X, 
our own Henry VIII, Sigismund of Poland, and others, 
he excelled them all in the deeds and qualities which con- 
stitute the greatness and fame of a ruler. There is a 
Turkish proverb to the effect that " Happy is the man 
whose faults can be numbered, for then his merits cannot 
be counted.** 



/ SOLYMAN was the last and greatest of the first ten Ottoman 
Sultans who, succeeding one another from father to son, 
in rather less than three hundred years, raised their P^mpire 
from nothing to one of the most extended in the world. / 
They must have been a very virile race, for their reigns 
averaged about twenty -eight years, far above the ordinary 
expectations of life. With one exception they were all able 
generals and habitually led their armies in the field. They 
were all statesmen, persistent in pursuing their ambitious 
aims. Many of them were addicted to literary pursuits, were 
students of history, and even had reputation as poets. In 
spite of these softening influences, there was in nearly all 
of them a fund of cruelty. It may be doubted whether, in 
the world's history, any other dynasty has produced so 
long a succession of men with such eminent and persistent 

Solyman was succeeded by his third son, Selim, com- 
monly called ' the Sot,* a sobriquet which sufficiently 
describes him. He was the only son spared from the bow- 
string. Selim was followed by twenty -four other Sultans 
of the Othman dynasty down to the present time. With 
the rarest exception, they were men wholly wanting in 
capacity to rule a great Empire. Only one of them was 
capable of leading his army in the field. The others had 
neither the will nor the capacity, nor even the personal 
courage to do so. They fell under the influence either of 
their viziers, or of the women or even of the eunuchs of 
their harems. 


If the persistency of type and of the high quaUties 
of the first ten Sultans was remarkable, no less so was the 
break which occurred after Solyman, and the almost total 
absence of these qualities in their successors down to the 
present time. One is tempted to question whether the 
true blood of the Othman race flowed in the veins of these 
twenty -five degenerates. Von Hammer refers to a common 
rumour at Constantinople, though he does not affirm his 
own beUef in it, that Selim was not really the son of Soly- 
man but of a Jew, and that this accounted for his infatuation 
for a favourite Jew adventurer, who obtained a potent 
influence over his weak mind. Such a break in true descent 
might well have been possible in the vicious atmosphere 
of the harem, in spite of the precaution that no men 
but those deprived of virility were to be allowed to 
enter it. 

Whatever may be the explanation, there can be no doubt 
that the degeneracy of the Othman dynasty dates from the 
accession of Selim the Sot. But this did not necessarily 
involve the immediate decadence of the Empire. The 
Ottoman Empire could not have been built up by the 
energy and ability of a single autocrat in each generation. 
There must have been many capable men, statesmen, 
generals, and administrators, of all ranks, who contributed 
in each generation to the acldevements pf their rulers. Many 
such men survived for some years the death of Solyman, and 
preserved the Empire from the ruin which threatened it. 
The Empire, in fact, did not begin to shrink in extent till 
some years later, and for about twelve years, as if from the 
momentum given to it by the powerful Sultans of the past, it 
actually continued to expand. Selim was the first of the new 
type of Sultans. He took no interest or part in the affairs 
of State. He was a debauchee aind a drunkard. He gave an 
evil example to all others, high and low. Judges, cadis, and 
ulemas took to drink. Poets wrote in raptures about wine. 
Hafiz, the most in esteem of them, wrote that wine was 
sweeter than the kisses of young girls. The attention of 
the Mufti was called to this, and he was asked to censor the 
poem as contrary to the injunctions of the Koran. But the 
Mufti replied that " when a Sultan took to d!rink it was 
permissible for all to do the same and for poets to 
celebrate it." 

Selim fell completely under the influence of his Grand 


Vizier, who had held the post for two years under Solyman. 
Sokolli, who was a most capable man, was the virtual ruler 
of the Empire. He was a man of large views. He had 
two important and interesting schemes in his mind. The 
one to cut a canal across the Isthmus of Suez, so that the 
Turkish fleet might find its way into the Red Sea and 
Indian Ocean, the other to make a junction by a canal 
between the. rivers Don and Volga. These two great rivers, 
which have their sources in Russia, run a parallel course 
for a long distance, and at one point approach one another 
within thirty miles. They then diverge again, the one 
flowing into the Sea of Azoff, the other into the Caspian 
Sea. By joining these two rivers by a canal at the point 
where the distance between them is the least, it would be 
possible for a Turkish flotilla to ascend the Don, and then, 
after passing through the canal, descend the Volga into the 
Caspian Sea, whence it would be able to attack the Persian 
province of Tabriz with great advantage. The commercial 
possibilities of this junction of the two great water highways 
were also obvious. The scheme, however, necessitated 
taking Astrakan and other territory from Russia — a country 
which had of late years largely extended its possessions 
and power. 

In this view, Sokolli, in 1568, sent an army of twenty- 
five thousand Janissaries and Spahis by sea to Azoff. 
They were there joined by thirty thousand Tartars from the 
Crimea, and the combined force marched thence to 
Astrakan, at the mouth of the Volga. For the first tim^e, 
therefore, the Ottomans came into direct conflict with the 
Russians. The expedition was a total failure. The Turks 
were unable to capture Astrakan, and a Russian army 
completely destroyed that of the Tartars. The main 
Turkish army was compelled to retreat to Azoff. Later, the 
greater part of it was lost in a great tempest in the Black 
Sea, and only seven thousand of its men returned to Con- 
etantinople. The project of a Don and Volga canal was 
consequently abandoned. That for a canal across the 
Isthmus of Suez was also indefinitely adjourned, owing' to 
an outbreak of the Arabs in the province of Yemen, which 
necessitated sending an army there under Sinan Pasha. 
This was thoroughly successful, and Yemen and other parts 
of Arabia were completely and finally brought under the 
subjection of the Ottoman Empire. 


After the reconquiest of Yemen, Spkolli determined to 
attack Tunis, which since its capture by, the Emperor 
Charles V had been in the occupation of the Spaniards. 
The fleet employed for this purpose was under the 
command of Ouloudj Pasha, a renegade Italian, who 
after a successful career as corsair and pirate was 
induced to take service under the Sultan. In 1568 
he was appointed governor of Algiers, and in that 
capacity led the expedition against Tunis in the following 
year. He defeated the Spaniards and occupied the town. 
But the garrison retreated into the citadel, which they held 
till 1574. 

In 1570 another expedition was decided on, this time for 
the purpose of capturing the island of Cyprus, which , was 
then in possession of the Republic of Venice, with which the 
Porte was at peace. Sokolli, on this account, was at first 
opposed to the scheme. But on this occasion, for the first 
and, apparently, the only time, Sultan Selim overruled his 
minister. He loved the wine of Cyprus and wished to secure 
a certain supply of it. He had also, in a drunken orgy, pro- 
mised to elevate his boon companion, the Jew, to the position 
of King of Cyprus. The Mufti, who had always hitherto 
given a full support to Sokolli, was consulted as to whether 
the treaty with Venice was binding on the Sultan so as to 
make an attack on Cyprus unlawful. He issued a fetva to 
the effect that, as Cyprus at some distant time had been 
under Moslem rule, as a dependency of Egypt, it was the 
duty of a Mussulman prince to avail himself of any favour- 
able opportunity to restore to Islam territory which had 
been taken possession of by an infidel Power, and that, 
consequently, the treaty with Venice was not binding on 
the Sultan. 

In accordance with this ruling of the Mufti, an expedition 
was fitted out in 1570 by the Ottoman government, consist- 
ing of a hundred thousand men, including irregulars, under 
command of Kara Mustapha, who was the rival of Sokolli, 
and a fleet under Piale. This force laid siege to Nicosia, the 
capital of Cyprus, a flourishing Christian city, where there 
were said to be as many churches as tliere are days in the 
year. After a siege of seven weeks the city was captured 
by assault, and was given up to sack by the Turkish' soldiers. 
Thirty thousand of the inhabitants were massacred. Many 
women killed themselves and their children rather than give 


themselves up to the maddened soldiers. Two tliousand 
of the better -looking children of both sexes were sold as 

Mustapha Pasha then proceeded to invest Famagosta, 
the principal fortress in the island. It was heroicaHy; 
defended by a mixed force of Italians and Greeks, under 
command of Bragadino, a brave Venetian general. Jt 
successfully resisted attack throughout the winter of 1570. 
It was not till August in the following year (1571) that 
the garrison, reduced to less than four thousand men, 
was compelled by failure of food and munitions of war to 
surrender. Very favourable terms were promised to them 
by Mustapha. The lives of the garrison were to be 
respected, and the property and religion of the citizens 
were to be secured to them. The garrison were to be 
conveyed in Turkish galleys to Crete and there released. 
In pursuance of these terms the captives were embarked on 
board gaUeys ready to sail to Crete. At this stage an inter- 
view took place between Kara Mustapha and Bragadino and 
his suite of twenty officers, at which very hot words passed 
between them. The Turkish general complained that some 
of his men, taken prisoners during the siege, had been put 
to death. Bragadino denied this. His language was con- 
sidered to be insolent by Kara Mustapha, who at once gave 
orders that all Bragadino 's suite were to be strangled in 
his presence. Their leader was reserved for a more cruel 
fate. The men embarked on the galleys were landed again 
and were massacred. A week later, Bragadino, who had 
been treated in the interval with the g'reatest cruelty and 
the most barbarous indignities, was flayed alive. His skin, 
stuffed with hay, was exhibited to the scorn of the Turkish 
soldiers. The capture of Famagosta completed the conquest 
of Cyprus. It remained in the possession of the Ottomans 
till, as will be seen, it was handed over to the British 
Government, in 1878, in pursuance of a policy devised 
by Lord Beaconsfield. The Turks are said to have lost 
fifty thousand men in its capture. It was in revenge for 
this that Kara Mustapha resorted to the terrible deeds 
above described. 

Meanwhile the Christian Powers had been greatly alarmed 
by the loss of Cyprus and the atrocities above described. 
At the instance mainly of the Pope, an alliance was formed 
in 1570 with Spain and Venice^ with the object of opposing 


the growing strength of the Ottomans in the Mediterranean. 
A great fleet was fitted out by these Powers, and was placed 
under the command of Don John of Austria, the natural 
son of the late Emperor, Charles V, a young man of 
only twenty -four years, who had shown his capacity in 
the measures for the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, 
and was already reckoned one of the best generals of the 
time. The fleet consisted of two hundred galleys and six 
powerful galleasses with heavy armaments. It was manned 
by eighty thousand soldiers and rowers, one -half of whom 
were provided by Spain and one -third by Venice, the 
remainder, one -sixth, by the Pope. Don John was in 
supreme command. The Spanish division was commanded 
by the Prince of Parma, soon to become notorious in the 
Netherlands under Philip IT, and who was later in com- 
mand of the Armada fitted out in Spain for the invasion of 

The fleet assembled at Messina on September 21, 
I 57 I, too late for the relief of Cyprus. The Turks collected 
in the Gulf of Lepanto a much greater fleet of two hundred 
and ninety galleys manned by a hundred and twenty 
thousand soldiers and rowers. But they had no large 
galleasses with powerful armaments to compare with those 
of the Spaniards. The fleet was commanded by the Capitan 
Pasha Ali, a young man without experience in naval war. 
The second in command was Ouloudj. Perted Pasha 
was in command of the troops. He and Ouloudj were 
opposed to an immediate battle with the allied fleet on the 
ground that their men were not as yet sufficiently trained. 
At a council of war heated discussion took place. The 
Capitan Pasha insisted on immediate attack. Ouloudj 
broke ofl" the discussion, saying, ** Silence. I am ready, 
because it is written that the youth of a Capitan 
Pasha has more weight than my forty -three years 
of fighting. But the Berbers have made sport of 
you, Pasha ! Remember this when the peril draws 
near. '* 

The rowers of both fleets were galley slaves chained to 
the oars. On the Turkish fleet they were Christians who 
had been made captives in war. On the Christian fleet 
they were the sweepings of the jails. In both cases the 
admirals promised liberty to them if they performed their 
duty in the coming battle. 


The two fleets met near thb entrance to the Gulf of 
Le'panto on October 7, 1571. The Christian fleet was rangted 
in a crescent with the Venetians on the left flank. The siy 
powerful galleasses were posted like redoubts at intervals 
in front of the lines of galleys. Don John was at the centre 
of the crescent. The two fleets approached one another. 
The engagement soon became general. The Turkish galleys 
as their enemy neared them, were somewhat broken in line 
by the Spanish galleasses, which raked the Turkish galleys 
with their more powerful armaments. The Turkish admiral, 
in the Sultana, made a direct attack on Don John's ship, 
the Real, which was later supported by a second galley. 
The three were locked together, and the Spanish soldiers 
boarded the Turkish vessel. A desperate hand-to-hand 
combat took place, in which the Turkish admiral was killed. 
His head was cut off and, against the will of Don John, was 
stuck on the masthead of the Spanish vessel. This caused 
general discouragement in the Turkish' fleet. All along the 
line the Turkish vessels were worsted in the combats with 
their opponents. There resulted a complete defeat of their 
centre and left wing. Ouloudj, in command of the Turkish 
right wing, was more fortunate'. He succeeded in out- 
manoeuvring the Venetian vessels opposed to him. He 
made a violent attack on fifteen galleys which were 
detached from the main fleet of the allies and suc- 
ceeded in sinking them. When he became aware that 
the main Ottoman fleet was completely defeated by the 
Spaniards, he made a dash with forty of his own 
galleys throug'h the enemy's line and succeeded in 
escaping. With this exception, the whole of the Turkish 
vessels, tw'o hundred and sixty-six in number, were 
captured or sunk. Fifty thousand Turks lost their lives 
in this great battle, and fifteen thousand Christian slaves 
were liberated. ' 

It was an overwhelming defeat for the Ottomans. No 
such naval victory had occurred in the Mediterranean 
since that of Actium, very near to the same spot, where 
(B.C. 31) Marc Antony's fleet was destroyed by that 
of Octavius. Nor was there another such decisive 
naval encounter in those seas till that known as the 
Battle of the Nile, when Nelson captured or sank 
nearly the whole of the French fleet off ^he coast of 


It was to be expected that the allied Christian fleet 
would follow up its great victory by attack on some Turkish 
territory. No such project was entertained by its admirals 
and generals. The fleet dispersed after its victory. 
Each detachment of it returned to its own ports, there 
to receive ovations of triumph. Sculptors and painters 
celebrated the event by works of art in churches at 
Rome, Venice, Messina, and other cities. Never was 
so decisive a victory productive of so little further 
result. ; 

The contrast between the action of the defeated Turks 
and that of the victors was m.ost striking. Ouloudj, picking 
Up forty stray galleys in the ^gean Sea, returned to Con- 
stantinople with eighty vessels. Piale joined him there 
with a few more. Sokolli and his colleagues in the Turkish 
Government made the most determined efforts to restore 
their fleet. Even Selim showed some spirit on this occa- 
sion. He contributed largely from his privy purse. He 
gave up part of the garden of his palace at Seraglio Point 
as a site for the construction of new vessels. One hundred 
and sixty galleys were at once commenced, together with 
eight galleasses of the largest size. By the spring of the next 
year they were completed. The losses at Lepanto were 
made good and the Ottoman fleet was as powerful as 
before the disaster. In the summer of 1572 the 
allied Christian fleet was again assembled on the eastern 
Mediterranean. It was still inferior in numbers of vessels 
to that of the Ottomans. The two fleets came in sight of 
one another twice in that season in the neighbourhood of 
the island of Cerigo and, later, off Cape Matapan, but 
no engagement took place. It may be concluded that 
Ouloudj, who was now Capitan Pasha of the Turkish navy 
with the honorary name of Killidj Ali, thought it the better 
policy not to risk his new fleet before the crews were 
thoroughly trained. He withdrew, and the sequel showed 
the wisdom of his action. The allied fleet was unable to 
do anything. 

Later, in 1573, the Venetians found it expedient to 
negotiate terms for a separate peace with the Porte. 
Their envoy, who appears to have remained at Con- 
stantinople during the late war, interviewed Sokolli for 
this purpose. When he alluded to the losses which 
the two Powers bad recently incurred, the one of the 


island of Cyprus, the other of its fleet, Sokolli proudly 
replied : — 

You have doubtless observed our courage after the accident which 
happened to our fleet. There is this great difference between our loss and 
yours. In capturing a kingdom we have cut off one of your arms, while 
you, in destroying our fleet, have merely shorn our beard. A limb cut 
off cannot be replaced, but a beard when shorn will grow again in greater 
vigour than ever. 

Terms of peace were concluded. Not only was the 
capture of Cyprus confii'med by a formal cession of the 
island, but the Republic agreed to pay to the Porte the cost 
incurred by its capture, estimated at 300,000 ducats. The 
tribute paid by Venice for the island of Zante lof 500 
ducats was increased to 1,500 ducats. The Republic was 
relieved of the annual tribute of 8,000 ducats in respect 
of Cyprus. The limits of the possessions of the two Powers 
in Dalmatia and Albania were restored to what they had 
been before the war. The terms were humiliating to 
Venice ; they could not have been worse if the battle of 
Lepanto had never been fought. 

The rapid restoration of its fleet by the Porte gave fresh 
evidence of its vital power and its unsurpassed resources. 
For a long time to come the Ottoman navy, supported by the 
piratical conting'ents from its Barbary dependents, held a 
virtual supremacy in the Mediterranean. 

After the conclusion of peace between Venice and the 
Porte, Don John, in October 1573, commanded a Spanish 
fleet in an expedition against Tunis, which, as above stated, 
had been captured by Ouloudj on behalf of the Turks. 
The task of Don John was the more )easy as the Turks 
had not succeeded in capturing the citadel, which was still 
in the possession of its Spanish garrison. He had no 
difficulty in defeating the few Turks who were in posses- 
sion of the city of Tunis. He showed no disposition to 
restore to his throne the Sultan Hamid. This miserable 
creature appeared at Tunis and claimed to be reinstated 
there. But the Spaniards would have nothing to do with 
him. He was deported to Naples. 

Don John, having effected his object, departed to Spain, 
leaving at Tunis a mixed garrison of eight thousand Italians 
and Spaniards. When news of this capture reached Con- 


stantinople, Sokolli and Ouloudj were greatly incensed. 
In 1574 a fleet of two hundred and sixty galleys and 
galleasses with forty thousand men was sent out, under 
command of Ouloudj, who made short work of the Spanish 
and Italian garrison at Tunis, and recaptured the province, 
and finally annexed it to the Turkish Empire. This prob- 
ably could not have been effected if Venice had remained 
in alliance with Spain, but alone the latter was not able 
to meet the Ottoman fleet in the Mediterranean. 

In 1574 Selim died under the influence of drink, and 
was succeeded by his son, Murad III, as much a nullity 
as regards public affairs as his father. Sokolli remained 
as Grand Vizier till his death, four years later, by the 
hands of an assassin, but with diminishing power, owing 
to the intrigues of the Sultan's harem, which eventually 
contrived his end. 

In 1578, the last year of Sokolli's vizierate, war again 
broke out with Persia, and a great army was sent to Asia, 
under command of Mustapha, the conqueror of Cyprus. 
It began by invading Georgia, then under a native Christian 
prince in close alliance with, if not under the subjection 
of, Persia. Mustapha had no difficulty in conquering 
Georgia, and in occupying the adjacent Persian provinces 
of Azerbijan, Loristan, and Scherhezol. He penetrated to 
Dhagestan, on the Caspian. The war was continued under 
Sokolli's successors for some years with varyingi fortune. 
It was not till 1590 that a treaty of peace was concluded 
with Persia, under which these provinces were ceded to 
the Ottoman Empire. 

It will be seen from this brief narrative that the acquisi- 
tions of the Ottoman Empire during the twelve years when 
the Grand Vizier Sokolli was virtually its ruler were very 
great and important. They included the island of Cyprus, 
the province of Tunis, the kingdom of Georgia, the 
provinces taken from Persia, and the Yemen, in Arabia. 
These, 'with one exception, were the last acquisitions of 
the Ottoman Empire. The exception was that of the island 
of Crete, which was not attacked by the Turks till sixty - 
seven years later, in 1645, and was not finally conquered 
till 1668. But by this time the Ottoman Empire had 
begun to shrink at the hands of its enemies in other 
directions. It may be concluded, therefore, that the last 
year of the vizierate of Sokolli, 1578, and not the last 



year of Solyman's reign, was th^e. zenith of the Ottoman 
Empire . 

The Empire was by this timie extended from the centre 
of Hungary in the north to the Persian Gulf and the 
Soudan in the south, from the Caspian Sea and the borders 
of Persia in the east to the province of Qran in Africa 
in the west. It included nearly the whole of the southern 
shores of the Mediterranean, except that of Morocco, and 
all the shores of the Black Sea and the Red Sea. All 
the islands of the yEgean Sea except Crete belonged to it. 
These territories were inhabited by twenty different races. 
Their population has been variously estimated at thirty 
millions and upwards. Many of the Greek cities at that 
time existing in Asia Minor were still very populous, in 
spite of the massacres which had taken place when they 
were captured by the Turks. It is probable that the popu- 
lation of Asia Minor, of Syria, and of Mesopotamia was 
much larger than it is at the present time. That of 
Bulgaria, Greece, and' Macedonia was also greater than it 
was in modem times before their emancipation from Turkish 
rule. After the death of Sokolli there ensued an era when 
misgovernment and corruption played havoc with the Empire, 
and a process of shrinkage began which extended over 
three centuries, the exact opposite to its growth in the pre- 
vious three centuries. 

It should here be noted that although the Sultans were 
autocrats in the full sense of the term, there existed in 
practice some ultimate check on their misdeeds . The Mufti, 
as the chief interpreter of the sacred law of Islam, had 
the right and power to declare whether any act of the 
Sultan, or any proposed act by any other person, was in 
accord with or opposed to such law. As the Mufti could 
be deposed by the Sultan and then be put to death, this 
power could be very rarely used by him. But when out- 
breaks occurred on the part of the Janissaries and reached 
a point when the deposition of the Sultan was demanded, 
the Mufti, as a rule, was asked for his opinion. It will 
be seen that of the twenty -five Sultans after Solyman eleven 
were 'deposed, and in almost every case the Mufti gave 
his legal sanction. The Janissaries may have been very 
lawless, but they were not the less a salutary check on 
the Sultans. With one possible exception the depositions 
were weU deserved. It should be noted that there was 


also a check on the Sultans in the Divan, which' was com- 
posed of the four viziers and many other functionari-es, 
mihtary, civil, legal, and religious. It met once or twice 
a week and discussed matters of State. Till the time of 
Solyman the Sultan presided, but he gave up this practice. 
In the absence of the Sultan the Grand Vizier presided. 
In the reign of the degenerate Sultans the Divan often played 
an important part. 



Tribidary and T&^saZ States are oicBme-d wit h colour. 

Stanfbrd^ Geo^^Fstadr-Zonelori 

London. : T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd. 






After the death of Sokolli many years elapsed before 
another Grand Vizier was able to wield the power of the 
State, in place of the weak and incompetent Sultans iwho 
succeeded to the throne. The supreme power fell into the 
hands of w^omen of the Sultan's harem. For a time the 
chief influence lay with the Sultana Baffo, a Venetian lady 
of the noble family of that name, who had been captured 
when young by a corsair and sold as a slave to the harem 
of Sultan Murad III. She was a very clever and 
ambitious, as well as a beautiful woman, and for a time 
Murad was devoted to her charms to the exclusion of 
other inmates of his harem. But his mother, the Sultana 
Valide, jealous of Baffo's exclusive influence in politics, 
contrived to draw "Murad 's afl^ection from her by tempting 
him with two other Very beautiful slaves. Later, the lady 
who presided over the harem and her assistant improved 
on this method by procuring for the Sultan a succession 
of beautiful slaves, in such numbers that the price of this 
ware rose enormously in the slave market. 

Murad, under the influence of these attractions, devoted 
himself Wholly to voluptuous life in his harem. He became 
the father of one hundred and three children, of whom 
forty -seven survived him. The Sultana Baffo, the mother 
of his eldest son, though she had lost her charm for him" 
as a mistress, continued to influence him in public affairs 
by her wit and cleverness, sharing it, however, with the 
other ladies referred to. After the death of the Sultana 
Valide, the Sultana Baffo succeeded in regaining mucU 
of her earlier and exclusive influence. She retained the game 
authority over her son Mahomet HI, who succeeded hj^ 


father in 1595. It resulted, therefore, that this lady, for 
twenty -eight years, exercised the greatest power in the State. 
Mahomet was as much a nullity in public affairs as his 
father. He signalized his accession to the throne by putting 
to death his nineteen brothers . He thought apparently 
that this holocaust shed some lustre on these unfortunate 
princes, for he accorded to them a State funeral. They 
were followed to their graves by all the high dignitaries 
of the State, and were buried beside their father. Six 
favourite slaves of the eldest of these princes, who might 
be expected to give birth to future claimants to the throne, 
were sewn up in sacks and were flung into the Bosphorus. 

Mahomet *was the last Sultan who was allowed before 
his accession to have some experience in public affairs as 
governor of a province. Thenceforward it was the practice 
for reigning Sultans to immure their heirs in a building 
in the Seraglio, at Constantinople, known as the Cage, where 
they v/ere allowed to have no intercourse with the outer 
world, and could have no ex'perience, or even knowledge, 
of public affairs, and which they only left either to reign 
as Sultans or to be put to death. It has been suggested 
by some writers that this treatment of the heirs to the 
Ottoman throne was the main cause of the lamentable 
degeneracy of the Othman dynasty. It must undoubtedly 
have contributed to this, but it should be noticed that the 
three Sultans, Selim II, Murad III, and Mahomet III, who 
had not been subjected to this debasing treatment, and had 
been governors of provinces before their accession, were 
quite as worthless and incompetent as any of their successors. 

Mahomet, after eight years of a vacuous reign, was 
succeeded by his son Achmet, who reigned for fourteen 
years. He Was as incompetent to rule as his two 
predecessors. He fell under the influence of other 
ladies of his harem. The Sultana Baffo was ignored and 
lost her power. On the death of Achmet, in 161 7, he 
was succeeded not by his eldest son but by his brother 
Mustapha, a lunatic. Achmet had spared his brother's life 
on account of his lunacy. Mustapha, therefore, by virtue of 
the law of succession, succeeded, but he was deposed after 
a few months, and was followed on the throne by Othman II, 
the son of Achmet, who showed some greater capacity. 
In his short reign, however, of four years he incurred the 
disfavour of the Janissaries, who insisted on his deposition 


and 'death. The lunatic Mustapha was then reinstated on 
the throne, and was again deposed, after a few months. 
He was succeeded by Murad IV, a lad under twelve years. 
Till he came to years of discretion his mother, the Sultana 
Valide, iwho was a clever woman, virtually ruled. It will 
be 'shown later that Murad was of very different type to 
his ^ix predecessors. On coming of age he emlancipated 
himself from the influence of the harem, and was the 
last of his dynasty who was a warrior and who personally 
led his army in the field. His rule lasted for only eight 
years. On his death, in 1640, he was succeeded by his 
brother Ibrahim II, a worthless voluptuary, during whose 
reign of another eight years the harem recovered its influ- 
ence. He was followed by Mahomet IV, and for eight more 
years the rule of the harem was maintained. From this 
brief narrative it will appear that from the death of SokoUi 
in 1578 till 1656, a period of seventy-eight years, during 
which seven Sultans occupied the throne, the supreme power 
in the State iwas exercised by women of the harem, with 
the exception of the eight years of the reign of Sultan 
Murad IV. For twenty-eight of these years the Sultana 
Baffo, and later other ladies less known to fame, were 
virtually the rulers of the Empire. Grand Viziers were 
made and unmade at the will of these ladies, with occa- 
sional intervention of the Janissaries. They seldom held 
the office for more than a year. The Sultana Baffo was 
a gras'ping and avaricious woman. Under her evil influ- 
ence, and later that of other ladies of the harem, the 
system of the sale of offices was greatly extended and 
became universal throughout the Empire for all appoint- 
ments, high and low. 

It has been shown that the Grand Vizier Roostem, in 
Solyman's reign, first introduced the system of requiring 
payments from persons appointed as governors of provinces 
and to other high civil 'posts ; but the sums were fixed 
and definite, and were paid into the treasury of the State, 
and the system was not extended to the army. The pay- 
ments now became larb'itrary and universal;, and were ex- 
tended to appointments in the army. The Sultan himself 
was not above taking a part in this plunder, and the ladies 
of the harem had also their full share. Grand Viziers 
only succeeded in retaining their posts by large payments 
to the Sultan and his entourage, male and female, 


Von Hammer, on the authority of the historian All, 
tells the story that a favourite of the Sultan, one Schemsi 
Pasha, who was descended from a family formerly reign- 
ing over a province of Asia Minor, on the borders of 
the Black Sea, which had been dispossessed by an early 
Ottoman Sultan, on coming from an interview with the 
Sultan, Murad III, exclaimed with a joyous air : *' At last I 
have revenged myself on the House of Othman, for I have 
now persuaded it to prepare for its own downfall ! " When 
asked how he had done that, he replied : '* By persuading 
the Sultan to share in the sale of his own favours. It 
is true that I placed a tempting bait before him. Forty 
thousand ducats make tio trifling sum. From this time 
forth the Sultan sets the example of corruption, and 
corruption will destroy the Empire." ^ 

As a result of this evil practice of the sale of offices, 
the whole system of government throughout the Empire, 
from top to bottom, was infected with bribery and corrup- 
tion. The judges, equally with other officers, were corrupt, 
and gave their judgments to the highest bidder. Criminals 
of the vilest kind who could bribe the judges were allowed 
to go free. All confidence in the administration of the 
law was destroyed. All officers in the State, from the 
highest to the lowest, held their posts at the will of those 
who appointed them, and were liable to be superseded at 
any moment. Having paid large sums for these posts, it 
was necessary for them to make hay while the sun shone, 
and to recoup themselves for their outlay by exiactions 
0-: those below them, and by plunderingi the people in 
their districts. 

The army being no longer exempt from this pernicious 
system, officers were appointed or promoted, not because 
they were efficient, but because they had the longest purses. 
The discipline of the army was therefore relaxed. Thete 
was also great dissatisfaction throughout the service 
because the soldiers were paid in debased coins. The 
garrisons of such frontier fortresses as Buda and Tabriz 
broke out in revolt. The Janissaries got out of hand. 
There were conflicts between them and the Spahis. The 
Janissaries frequently insisted on the dismissal, and even 
on the execution, of viziers and other ministers of State, and 
the craven Sultans and the ladies of their harems had to 
* Yon Hammer, vii. p. 4. 


consent. There was rebellion in Transylvania, Moldavia, 
and Wallachia. The Christians of the Lebanon rose against 
their oppressors, the Turks. Brigandage increased to a 
lamentable extent in other parts of the Empire. 

The ladies of the harem, it would seem, were not favour- 
able to war. The Sultana Baffo, being a Venetian by 
birth, averted war with that Republic for many years. 
Peace was also made with Austria and was maintained for 
some years. But in 1593, when Transylvania and Wallachia 
were in rebellion, Austria and Hungary were induced by 
sympathy for their people to declare war against the Porte. 
Their army, under command of the Emperor Maximilian 
and Count Pfalfi, the Hungarian general, marched to the 
Danube, capturing on their way Gran, Pesth, Bucharest, 
and other strongholds of the Turks. They then crossed 
the Danube and marched to Varna. 

There was the greatest consternation at Constantinople 
at the loss of so many strongholds and the defeat of the 
Turkish armies. There was a general demand that 
the Sultan himself, the incompetent Mahomet, should 
endeavour to restore confidence to the Turkish soldiers, 
by putting himself at the head of them, as his predecessors 
had done in past times. He was urged to unfurl the 
standard of the Prophet, and to appeal to the religious 
fervour and fanaticism of the army. Mahomet was most 
unwilling to adopt this course. He preferred to remain 
in the Seraglio at Constantinople. The Sultana l>affo, 
fearing that her influence might be lost if her son was 
out of her sight, backed his refusal to march. On the 
other hand, his preceptor, the historian Seadeddin, who 
had great influence over him, made every effort in the 
opposite direction. At last the Janissaries refused to go 
to the front unless their Padishah led them, and Mahomet, 
much against his will, was compielled to put himself at 
the head of his army. The sacred standard of the Prophet 
and his mantle, a most prized relic, were brought out 
for the occasion. With much pomp the Ottomans marched 
northwards to meet the invaders. The Austrians and 
Hungarians fell back at the approach of this great army 
of Turks. They abandoned all the fortresses they had 
captured in Bulgaria. They recrossed the Danube. The 
two armies at last came into conflict on the plain of 
Cerestes^ in Hungary, on the 24th of October, 1596, 


where a memorable battle took place, extending: over three 
days. ■ ! ■ ■ j ' I ■ i 

It does not appear that Mahomet took any part in the 
direction of his army. The Grand Vizier was virtu^ly 
in comm!and. The second in command was Cicala, an 
Italian by birth who had embraced Islam', a most brave 
and resolute soldier, greatly favoured by the ladies of 
the harem. The Sultan, however, was present in the field, 
surrounded by his bodyguard. The sacred banner of the 
Prophet was unfurled and roused, it was said, the fervour 
of the Turkish soldiers. On the first day the Turks met 
with a reverse, and a division of their army was defeated. 
A council of war was held, at which Mahomet expressed 
his wish to retreat and to avoid further battle. Seadeddin 
stoutly opjX)sed this. " It has never been seen or heard 
of," he said, " that a Padishah of the Ottomans turned 
his back upon the enemy without the direst necessity." 
Mahomet then suggested that he himself should with- 
draw from the battle, and that the Grand Vizier, Hassan 
Pasha, should take command of the army. ** This is 
no afi'air for pashas," said Seadeddin, ** the presence 
of the Padishah is indispensably necessary." It was 
decided to continue the battle in the presence of the 

The second day was no better for the Ottomans than 
the first. On the third day, October 26th, the two main 
armies came into closer quarters. The Hungarians, under 
Count Pfalfi, attacked the Ottoman artillery in flank and 
captured all the guns. The battle seemed to be irretrievably 
lost. The Sultan, seated on a tall camel, surrounded by 
his bodyguard, watched the rout of his army. He wished 
to fly while there was time. He was dissuaded again by 
Seadeddin, who quoted a verse from the Koran : ** It is 
patience which wins victory, and joy succeeds to sorrow." 
The Sultan, wrapping the Prophet's mantle round him, 
consented to remain on the field. 

The Austrians now charged the Ottoman camp. The 
Imperial soldiers, breaking their ranks, devoted themselves 
to plunder. At this point Cicala, at the head of a large 
body of irregular cavalry, which had taken no part so 
far in the battle, charged with irresistible force the scattered 
host of the Christians. They carried everything before 
them. The Austrians, in their turn, were driven from the 


field. Maximilian and Sigismund were compelled to fly 
for their lives. 

The Ottomans, as a result of this gallant charge, regained 
all that they had lost. Thirty thousand Austrians and 
Hungarians perished. Ninety -five of their guns were 
captured. The camp and the treasure of the Archduke 
were taken. Never was a more complete and unexpected 
victory. No thanks, however, were due to the Sultan. 
There can be no doubt that if he had acted on his own 
impulse and had fled, the battle would have been lost. 
He was a timid spectator of the conflict, and of much 
the same use as the sacred standard and the cloak of 
the Prophet. The victory was undoubtedly due to the 
courage of Cicala and the splendid charge of his cavalry, 
and to the determination of Seadeddin in compelling his 
master the Sultan, against his will, to renmin on the field 
of battle. 

No more important battle had taken place beyond the 
Danube since that of Mohacz in the time of Mahomet II. 
If the victory had resulted to the Christians, the whole 
of the Ottoman possessions north of the Danube would have 
been lost. The Christian army, under Maximilian, would 
again have crossed that river and have advanced into 
Bulgaria and Macedonia, and the dismemberment of the 
Ottoman Empire might have been precipitated by two or 
three centuries. 

The craven Sultan returned to Constantinople imme- 
diately after the battle. He received there a great ovation 
for the victory due to Cicala. Never again did he lead 
an army on the field. He devoted himself thenceforth 
to a voluptuous life in his harem. The government of the 
Empire remained in the hands of the Sultana Valide. 

Cicala, as a reward for his successful charge, was imme- 
diately promoted to be Grand Vizier. It was a most un- 
fortunate selection. He treated with great severity the 
Ottoman troops who had misbehaved at the battle of 
Ceresties. He accused them of cowardice. He inflicted 
summary punishment on their leaders. Thirty thousand 
of the soldiers, mostly belonging to Asia Minor, dispersed 
and returned to their homes, spreading disaffection and 
rebellion in their several districts. 

After this signal victory war of a desultory character was 
continued with Austria for some years, now one and now the 


other getting the better of it in the capture and recapture of 
fortresses. In 1606 peace was arrived at. A treaty was con- 
cluded between the two Powers at Silvatorok, which was, on 
the whole, unfavourable to the Ottomans . Transylvania was 
practically freed from their rule. They were confirmed 
in the possession of one-half of Hungary, but the other 
half was freed from tribute. The fortresses of Gran, Erlau, 
and Gradiscka were secured to Ottoman possession, Raab 
and Komorn to Austria. The annual payment of 30,000 
ducats by Austria, which the Turks regarded as a tribute, 
was also to cease, but a lump su,m of 200,000 ducats was 
to be paid to the Porte. 

By the surrender of its claims on Transylvania the 
Ottoman Empire in Europe entered upon a course of 
shrinkage, which thenceforth, up to the present time, has 
been the normal course of events. 

This decadence was soon to be illustrated in another 
direction. War had again broken out with Persia, and 
the Turks sustained a series of defeats. In 161 8 peace 
was patched up for a time, by the terms of which all the 
provinces which had been captured under Mura.d III and 
Mahomet III were ceded again to Persia, and the boundaries 
between the two Empires were restored to what they had 
been under Selim II. Meanwhile, as a result of mis- 
government, the Turkish Empire was going headlong to 
ruin. We have a very authoritative account of the 
deplorable condition into which it had fallen at this period 
in the reports of Sir Thomas Roe, who was sent as the 
first British Ambassador to the Porte by James I. 
Queen Elizabeth had already, a few years previously, 
entered into correspondence with the Porte, and had urged 
the Sultan to join in a naval alliance in the Mediterranean 
against Philip II, who was then threatening to invade 
England. The reply of the Porte was friendly, but 
nothing more. 

In 1622 Sir Thomas Roe was sent on a mission, mainly 
for the purpose of protesting against the piratical destruc- 
tion of British commerce by corsairs from Algiers and 
Tunis. He remained at Constantinople for five years, and 
succeeded in obtainingi promises of redress from the Porte. 
The Pasha of Algiers was recalled and a successor was 
appointed. But apparently this had very little effect in 
abating piracy.; The reports of Sir Thomjas Roe are 


full of descriptions of the misery of the inhabitants of 
Turkey, of symptoms of decay, and of the falling grandeur 
of the Empire. 

All the territory of the Grand Seignior [he says] is dispeopled for want 
of pasture and by reason of violent oppression — so much so that, in the 
best parts of Greece and Anatolia, a man may ride three or four, or 
sometimes six, days and not find a village to feed him or his horse, 
whereby the revenue is so lessened that there is not wherewithal to pay 
the soldiers and to maintain the Court. It may be patched up for a while 
out of the Treasury, and by exactions which are now onerous upon the 
merchants and labouring men to satisfy the harpies.^ 

I can say no more than that the disease works internally that must ruin 
this Empire ; we daily expect more changes and effusion of blood. The 
wisest men refuse to sit at the helm, and fools will soon run themselves 
and others upon the rocks. 

This State for sixteen months since the death of Othman hath been a 
stage of variety ; the soldiers usurping all government, placing and 
displacing more vulg. as the wynd of humour or dissatisfaction 
moved them. In this kind I have seen three Emperors, seven Grand 
Viziers, two Capitan Pashas, five Agas of the Janissaries, and, in propor- 
tion, as many changes of governors in all the provinces, every new Vizier 
making use of his time displacing those in possession and selling their 
favours to others.' 

In another passage he points out that the hope of booty 
was the main motive for war and invasion by the Turks : — 

The Turkish soldier is not only apt but desirous to make invasion 
because all things are prey and all kinds of licence allowed to them ; and 
his hope is more upon booty and prisoners than upon conquest. Every 
boy or girl is to them magazine and brings them the best of merchandise 
and worth 100 dollars, so that every village is to them a magazine and 
they return rich. . . . But I am persuaded versa vice if they were invaded 
and the war were brought to their doors they would be found the 
weakest, unprovided and undisciplined enemy in the world.3 

The pirates of Algiers have cast off all obedience to the Empire, not 
only upon the sea where they are masters, but presuming to do many 
insolences even upon the land and in the best parts of the Grand 

There can be no doubt that at the beginning of the 
seventeenth century, when Sir Thomas Roe wrote these 
dispatches, the Ottoman Empire was in a condition of un- 

' Sir T. Roe's Embassy, pp. 66-7. = Ibid. p. 178. 

3 Ibid. p. 206. * Ibid. p. 243. 


paralleled disorganization, and its various races were in 
a state of untold misery, owing in part to the want of strong 
men at its head, and in greater part to the system of 
corruption which had infected every branch of its adminis- 
tration. If at this time any neighbouring Power had been 
in a position to attack it, the Empire would not have been 
able to offer resistance. But Spain, after the reign of 
Philip II, was almost as decadent as Turkey. Germany 
was distracted by internal religious wars and was unable 
to concentrate on external foes, while Russia had not as 
yet developed a position which made her formidable to the 

It has already been stated that there was a break in. the 
disastrous rule of the harem when Murad IV came of age 
and was able to take the reins of government from the hands 
of his mother. The Sultana Validd was a very clever 
woman, with excellent intentions, and practically ruled the 
State during his minority. But she was not equal to the 
task of coping with the grave difficulties of the time. The 
Empire was going to the bad in all directions. The Per- 
sians, taking advantage of the confusion in Turkey, declared 
war and succQssfuUy invaded the provinces of Erivan and 
Bagdad. The two Barbary provinces of Algiers and Tunis 
were asserting independence. They engaged in piratical 
attacks on the commerce of the allies of the Porte, and 
were negotiating separate treaties with them. The internal 
condition of the Empire became worse than ever. There 
were frequent outbreaks of Janissaries, who imposed their 
will on the Sultana. 

In 1632, Murad, on reaching^ thje age of twenty -one, 
took command of the State, and soon showed that he was 
of very different fibre from his six incapable predecessors. 
His first experience was an outbreak of the Janissaries, 
who demanded that the Grand Vizier and sixteen other 
prominent officials should be executed. Murad was com- 
pelled to yield. But he felt deeply the humiliation of his 
surrender and was determined to aveng^e it. He gathered 
round him a faithful band of Spahis, and suddenly, when 
it was least expected, dealt with the leaders of the Janissaries 
by putting them to death. This had the effect of cowing 
that mutinous body. He then devoted himself to the task 
of purging the State of corrupt and unjust officials of all 
ranks. He pursued this task with most ruthless energy. 


On the slightest suspicion officials in the highest positions 
were secretly put to death by his orders, and their bodies 
were flung into the Bosphorus. He became a terror 
to evildoers of all ranks. But he also became blood- 
thirsty and callous of life in the process. Brutal as were 
his deeds, they had the effect of restoring order in the 
State and discipline in the army. Throughout the length 
and breadth of the Empire his dominant will made itself 
felt, and his authority as Sultan was soon completely 

Murad showed himself equally vigorous and competent 
as a general. His effective reign, after taking over the 
government from his mother, did not extend over more than 
eight years. During this time he personally led two ex- 
peditions against the Shah of Persia, each of them occupying 
two years. In the first of them he conquered Erivan. 
In the second he recaptured the city of Bagdad, after a 
most desperate resistance by the Persians. Of the gar- 
rison of twenty thousand men only six hundred survived. 
The Ottoman army was then allowed to sack the city, and 
thirty thousand of the inhabitants were massacred. The 
whole province was restored to the Ottoman rule. More 
than eighty years passed before another war took place with 

In these campaigns Murad shov/ed immense vigour. He 
marched at the head of his army and shared with the soldiers 
their hardships. His saddle was his pillow at night. There 
was no pitched battle with the Persians. The campaigns 
consisted of sieges and captures of fortresses. On his return 
to the capital after the second campaign, in 1639, Murad 
received a great popular ovation. He died soon after, in 
I 640, from fever, aggravated by intemperance, to which he 
was addicted. When he was on the point of death he gave 
orders for the execution of his brother, Ibrahim., the only 
surviving male of the descendants of Othman. Ibrahim 
had been immured in ' the Cage ' during the lifetime of 
his brother. He was quite unfit to rule the Empire, and 
Murad must have well known this. It was surmised that 
Murad preferred to go down in history a.s the last Sultaji 
of the Othman race rather than hand over the throne to 
such an incapable successor. Others thought that he in- 
tended his last and favourite Grand Vizier to be his suc- 
cessor. His mother, the Sukana Valide, with the object 

1 1 


of saving the life of her second son, Ibrahim, feigned to 
carry out Murad's order. She sent a message to the dying 
Sultan that Ibrahim had been put to death in accordance 
with his instructions. Murad, it is said, when he heard of this 
"grinned a horrible and ghastly smile and then expired." 

It may well have been that those who wished for the 
destruction of the Ottoman Empire regarded with com- 
plaisance the failure of Murad's intention of putting an end 
to the Othman dynasty. It was obviously impossible that 
Sultans of the type of those who had succeeded the great 
Solyman could for longi hold the Empire intact. A new 
dynasty, founded by an ambitious vizier, or some other bold 
adventurer, might have invigorated the Empire and have 
long delayed its dismemberment. But Dis aliter visum 

If Murad's intention to put his brother to death was 
prompted by the conviction that Ibrahim was unfit to rule 
the Empire, he was fully justified by subsequent events. 
In his short reigin of eight years Ibrahim succeeded in 
undoing all the good which Murad had effected by his 
ruthless vigour. He proved to be a degenerate, whose 
original evil nature had been worsened by many years of 
immurement and constant dread of death at the hands of 
his brother. He was as bloodthirsty as Murad, without 
the same motive of restoring' discipline in the army and order 
and justice throug'hout the Empire. He was also cowardly 
and mean. He wasted the resources of the State, which 
had bfeen wisely accumulated by Murad, in self -indulgence 
and in gratifying the caprices of his harem. He was the 
most confirmed debauchee of the long line of the Ottoman 
Sultans. The Sultana Valide pandered to his passions 
by presenting to him every Friday a new female slave. 
By this means she obtained full influence over him and 
used it in every case to the great detriment of the State. 
Every abuse and evil which Murad had checked grew 
apace, and the Turkish Empire, so far as internal affairs 
were concerned, entered on a new course of decadence. The 
rule of the harem again prevailed, without any motive but 
that of gratifying the caprices of its inmates. Disaffection 
and rebellion spread among the Janissaries and Spahis, 
and also among the ulemas and all classes of people at 
Constantinople. A conspiracy w'as formed to get rid of 
Ibrahim, It was supported by the main body of ulemas. 


At a meeting of the conspirators the charge against Ibrahim 
was formulated as follows : — 

The Padishah has ruined the Ottoman world by pillage and tyranny. 
Women wield the sovereignty. The treasury cannot satiate their expense. 
The subjects are ruined. The armies of the infidels are besieging towns 
on the frontiers. Their fleets blockade the Dardanelles. 

It was determined to dethrone Ibrahim and to replace 
him by his son Mahomet, a lad of seven years of age. The 
Sultana V^alide did her best to shield her son from the 
threatened blow, but she was ultimately induced to give 
her consent to his deposition. A large body of Janissarieis 
then invaded the palace and insisted on Ibrahim appearing 
before them. They announced to him the decision to 
depose him. He was compelled to submit and was con- 
ducted to prison. The question was then submitted to 
the Mufti, "Is it lawful to dethrone and put to death a 
Padishah who confers all the posts of dignity in the Empire, 
not on those who are worthy of them, but on those who 
have bought them for money?" The Mufti replied by a 
jeiva in the laconic word "Yes." There was a threat of 
an emeute among the Spahis in favour of Ibrahim. He 
was promptly put to death and his son Mahomet IV was 
installed as Sultan. 

The eight years of Ibrahim's reign, however, were not 
without some importance as regards the external affairs of 
the Empire. They showed that there were still some capable 
men in the service of the Sultan. In 1641 an expedition 
was fitted out for the recapture of the important city of 
Azoff, which of late years had fallen into the hands of the 
Cossacks. It was a failure and met with a reverse. In 
the next year a much larger force was sent out, and was 
supported by a hundred thousand Tartars from the Crimea. 
It succeeded in its object. The Cossacks, before sur- 
rendering the city, destroyed all its fortifications and burnt 
the town. The Turks rebuilt it and left a garrison of 
twenty -six thousand in this important frontier fortress. 

In 1644 another expedition was fitted out against the 
island of Crete, which then belong^ed to the Republic of 
Venice. It had been bought many years previously from 
the Marquis of Montserrat, to whom it had been allotted as 
his share in the spoil of the Greek Empire, after the 
capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204. 


It appears that a fleet of merchant vessels, on their way 
from Constantinople to Egypt, was captured by corsairs 
from Malta, who sought shelter for a time for themselves 
and their prizes in one of the ports of Crete. The wSultan 
was greatly incensed at this, the more so as some of the 
captured vessels belonged to one of the eunuchs of his 
harem. His first design was to send a fleet to attack Malta, 
but he w'as dissuaded from this course. He decided, as an 
alternative, to attack Crete, although the Porte was at peace 
with Venice, and the Republic was willing: to make amends 
for the violation of its neutrality by the Maltese corsairs. 

A fleet was thereupon fitted out, in 1645, ostensibly to 
attack Malta, but with sealed orders to divert its course 
when at sea to Crete. It consisted of a hundred and four 
vessels carrying upwards of fifty thousand men. The fleet, 
under the above orders, steered for Crete, and made a 
sudden attack on Canea, one of the chief ports of the island. 
Having captured this city and also Retino, the army was 
landed. It overran the whole island and invested Candia, 
its chief fortress and capital. A memorable siege then 
commenced. It lasted for nearly twenty -five years. The 
Republic of Venice made desperate efforts to save the city. 
It was not supported by the native Greek population of 
the island, who hated their Venetian rulers, and were not 
unwilling to exchange them for Ottomans. 

While the Porte was thus engaged in the endeavour to 
add to its domain at the expense of the Republic of Venice, 
it was incurring a very serious shrinkage of Empire in the 
Mediterranean, along the northern coast of Africa. His- 
torians agree in assigning to the middle of the seventeenth 
century the virtual severance from Ottoman rule of the two 
Barbary States of Algiers and Tunis. It is not possible to 
fix a precise date in either case, for the process of amputation 
was slow and was spread over some years, and long after the 
Sultan had practically ceased to exercise any real power over 
these dependencies the sem.blance and form of suzerainty 
was maintained. The main cause for the loss of these 
provinces was the practice which had grown up, under the 
corrupt administration of the Porte, of selling the posts of 
governors of them to the his^hest bidders in money. In 
place of men of energy and of capacity, able to control the 
unruly elements of mutinous soldiers and disaffected Moors 
and Arabs, governors were appointed under a system of pur- 


chase who were quite incapable of performing the duties of 
their office, and who merely thought of filling their pockets 
and recouping themselves for their outlay. The practice then 
arose for the Janissaries and other Ottoman soldiers form- 
ing the garrisons of Algiers and Tunis to elect their own 
chiefs. The appointments of these men, Deys, as they were 
called, were for a time submitted to the Sultan for approval 
or veto, but later this form was discontinued, and the Deys 
elected by the soldiery became the real dominant authorities 
in these States, and eventually superseded in form, as well 
as in substance, the feeble pashas sent nominally as 
governors from Constantinople. Virtual independence was 
thus achieved. Both States provided themselves with fleets 
of powerful war vessels, which roamed over the Mediter- 
ranean and the Atlantic as far as the coasts of Ireland and 
Madeira, preying upon the commerce of all countries, irre- 
spective of whether they were at war with the Porte or 
not. They were, in fact, pirates. The captured crews were 
employed as slaves in the bagnios of Algiers and Tunis. 
The best evidence of the actual, though not yet of the 
formal, independence of these Barbary States was that other 
Powers sent their fleets to attack and bombard them, and 
to destroy, if possible, their pirate craft, without declaring 
war against the suzerain power, the Porte. Thus, as early 
as 1 6 1 7 a French fleet, under Admiral Beaulieu, made 
an attack on the Algerian fleet of forty vessels of from two 
hundred to four hundred tons, and destroyed many of 
them. In 1620 a British fleet, under Sir Richard Mansel, 
in retaliation for the capture of no less than four hundred 
British merchant ships in the previous five years, made 
a similar attack on Algiers, without, however, much result. 
In 1655, another British fleet, commanded by Admiral 
Blake, under orders from Protector Cromwell, bombarded 
Tunis, and destroyed a great part of its fleet, and having 
effected this proceeded to Algiers. There was much con- 
sternation there, and the captives of British birth vvere given 
up without a struggle. In both these cases there was no 
declaration of war against the Porte, and no offence was 
taken by the Sultan at the action of England. 

In 1663 the British Government made a treaty with 
the Sultan empowering it to attack and punish the 
Algerines without being charged with a breach of amity 
with the Porte. It frequently availed itself of this, 


and many naval attacks were made on these nests of 
pirates, without, however, very effectual results. In some 
of its naval operations in the ^gean Sea the Porte received 
assistance from the fleets of these two Barbary States. 
But this was entirely at the discretion of their virtual rulers 
and was not considered obligatory on them. For our 
present purpose, it is sufficient to point out that the States 
became virtually independent of the Ottoman Empire about 
the year 1650. In the case of Algiers this independencie 
continued till the State was conquered and annexed by 
France in 1830. In Tunis the same process took place, 
with the difference that an hereditary Deyship was eventually 
formed undcir a Greek adventurer whose descendants retained 
power there till 1881, when the French invaded the 
province and eventually annexed it to France. 

Ibrahim was succeeded by his son, Mahomet IV. He 
reigned for thirty-nine years. During the first eight of 
these there was chaos in the Empire. The government 
remained in the hands of the harem. The position was 
aggravated by fierce dissension in that institution. There 
were two rival parties, the one led by the ex -Sultana 
Valide, the mother of the late Sultan, who was loath to part 
with the power she had acquired during her son's reign, 
the other by the mother of the new Sultan, Torchan by 
name. Both of them had their supporters among the 
Janissaries and Spahis, with the result that there were fre- 
quent disorders and encounters in the streets of the capital. 
Grand Viziers were made and deposed with startling rapidity, 
as one or other of these parties prevailed. Outbreaks 
occurred in many parts of the Empire and there was no one 
with sufficient authority to cope with them. The dispute 
between the two ladies was eventually settled by the murder 
of the elder one. Meanwhile it was fortunate for the Empire 
that Austria was so exhausted by thirty years of war in 
Germany that she was not able to avail herself of the 
opportunity afforded to invade the Ottoman Empire and 
recover Hungary and other provinces. But the war with 
Venice resulting from the unprovoked attack by Ibrahim 
on Crete was continued without intermission. A Venetian 
fleet under command of Admiral Macenigo defeated and 
destroyed an Ottoman fleet off' the Dardanelles and took 
possession of the islands of Lemnos and Tenedos. It 
blockaded the Dardanelles. Strange to say, this did not 


put a stop to the siege of Candia by the Ottomans. This 
was maintained with pertinacity, but for a long time without 
success. Meanwhile anarchy prevailed in the Empire. 
ReUef most unexpectedly came from the appointment of 
a Grand Vizier by Sultana Torchan, by which she made 
some amends for her previous misdeeds. 




At this stage, when the ruin of the Empire seem^ed to 
be imminent, owing to the failure of vigour and authority 
of so many Sukans, the general corruption of officials, 
and the lawlessness and mutinous conduct of the army, 
there rose to the front a man, or rather a succession of 
men of the same family, who were able to stem the evil 
tide and to restore, for a time, the credit and prestig'e 
of the Empire. In the following' forty-six years four 
members of the Kiuprili family filled the post of Grand 
Vizier — not, however, without more thap one unfortunate 
interregnum. They ruled the Empire in the name of 
the incompetent Mahomet and his successor. This advent 
of a family was the more notable as in Turkey there 
never was any trace of hereditary rank. While the throne 
had been filled without a break by members of the 
Othman family^ who, in the first three hundred years, 
deservedly acquired prestige so great that it has survived 
a yet longer succession of degenerates, it has never 
been supported by an hereditary class of any kind. 
The structure of the political and social system- of 
the Ottoman Turks has always been democratic. The 
highest posts in the State, equally with the lowest, were 
accessible to all^ irrespective of merit_, often by mere per- 
sonal favour, or even, it would seem, by chance, without 
consideration of birth or wealth. The unique exception to 
this, where members of the same family rose to the highest 
position of the State under the Sultan, was that of the 
Kiuprili family. 

Mohammed Kiuprili, the first of this remarkable stock, 
was of Albanian descent. His grandfather had migrated 



to Kiupril, a small town in Amasia, in Asia Minor, whence 
the family took their name. Their position must have 
been a very humble one, for Mohammed commenced |his 
career as kitchen -boy in the palace of the Sultan. He 
rose to be chief cook and, later, steward and grand falconer, 
and thence by favour of the harem was appointed as 
governor successively of Damascus, Tripoli, and Jerusalem, 
acquiring in all of them the reputation of a just, firm, 
and humane ruler. At the full age of seventy, on the 
advice of the Sultana Valide, he v/as finally appointed 
Grand Vizier, in spite of the protests of all the pashas, 
ulemas, and other officials, who alleged that Kiuprili was 
in his dotage, that he could neither read nor write, land 
that he was quite incompetent for the post. Never were 
experts more mistaken. Kiuprili only consented to take 
the post upon the conditions, solemnly swore to by the 
Sultana Valide on behalf of her son, who was then only 
fifteen years of age, that all his acts as Grand Vizier 
would be ratified by the Sultan without examination or 
discussion, and that he would have a free hand in the 
distribution of other offices and in the award of honours. 
He further fortified his position by getting from the Mufti 
a fetva sanctioning by anticipation all his measures. 

Armed with this authority, Kiuprili entered upon the 
work of his high office, and at once proceeded to use his 
powers with inflexible firmness and with the utmost severity. 
He emulated Sultan Murad IV in his relentless war against 
wrongdoers of every class, high and low, throughout the 
Empire. There was not the same spirit of cruelty or 
bloodthirstiness as in Murad's case, but there was the 
deliberate policy to extirpate abuses by the forcible 
removal of those concerned in them. Corrupt officials, 
unjust judges, incompetent officers in the army, and 
mutinous soldiers were promptly put to death. The same 
fate befell those who were suspected of intriguing against 
the new Vizier. It was said that during his five years of 
office thirty -five thousand persons were executed by his 
orders. The number included a great many mutinous 
soldiers. The principal executioner at Constantinople 
admitted that he had strangled four thousand persons of 
some position during this period. Terrible as was this 
retribution on wrongdoers of all kinds, there cannot be a 
doubt that in the main it was salutary. The effect of 


Kiuprili's inflexible will and determination was speedily 
apparent throughout the Empire. Corruption and injustice 
were stayed. Disorders of all kinds were repressed. 
Discipline and subordination were restored in the army. 

Kiuprili, by his vigorous action, was able to extinguish 
the revolts in Asia Minor and elsewhere. He reconstructed 
the Ottoman navy, with the result that naval supremacy 
was again asserted in the ^gean Sea and the war with 
Venice took a favo.urable turn. The islands of Lemnos 
and Tenedos were recovered by the Porte. The siege 
of Candia was again prosecuted with the utmost vigour. 

Kiuprili practically ruled the Empire with imquestioned 
authority for five years, till his death in 1661. In prospect 
of that event he obtained from the Sujtana Valide and 
the Sultan the reversion of the Grand Vizierate for his 
son, Ahmed Kiuprili. On his deathbed he is said to have 
given to the young Sultan the following heads of advice : — 

Never to listen to the advice of women. 

Never to allow a subject to become too rich. 

To keep the treasury of the State well filled. 

To be always on horseback and to keep the army on the move. 

Ahmed Kiuprili, when he succeeded his father as Grand 
Vizier in 1661, was only twenty-six years of age. He 
has rightly been considered by Turkish historians as the 
most effinent in the long list of statesmen of the Ottoman 
Empire, with the exception only of SokolU. He had been 
given the best of education by his father, and had early 
experience in public affairs as governor of a province. 
He had all his father's inflexible will and firmness, with- 
out carrying them to excess by wholesale executions. For 
a year after his accession to power he continued his father's 
regime of severity, but when he felt assured of his position 
he relaxed it, and thenceforward his administration was 
humane and just. He had most engaging manners, digni- 
fied and modest. He spoke with reserve and without 
verbiage. He ruled the Empire for fifteen years, until 
his death in 1676. During this time he enjoyed the full 
confidence of Sultan Mahomet, who, though he had reached 
the age of twenty when Ahmed Kiuprili was appointed 
Grand Vizier, and might in due course have taken part in 
public affairs, devoted himself wholly to the pleasures of 


the chase and never interfered with the conduct of affairs 
by his great minister. 

Ahmed was a most strict observer of the religious 
precepts of Islam. In spite of this, he was noted for 
his enlightened tolerance of other religions. He abolished 
the restrictions against the building of churches by the 
Christian subjects of the Porte. He did his best to improve 
the condition and lighten the burthen of the rayas. His 
administration was free from abuses. He gave an example 
to all below him by refusing to take money for appoint- 
ments to offices or for any administrative acts. He kept 
the treasury well filled, in spite of the many wars he 
was engaged in. It was, in fact, in the civil administration 
of the Empire that his ability and wisdom were chiefly 
conspicuous. His military career was chequered, for 
though he succeeded in adding to the Empire not a few 
important territories, he encountered for the first time in 
its history a great and historic defeat at the hands of the 
Austrians and a second serious defeat by the Poles. 

In 1663 war broke out with Austria, and the Grand 
Vizier, in command of an army of a hundred and twenty 
thousand men with a hundred and twenty -three guns, 
crossed the Danube at Belgrade and marched northwards 
to Neuhausel, one of the three most important strongholds 
in the hands of the Austrians, which, after a siege of 
five weeks, was compelled to surrender. Meanwhile the 
Khan of the Crimea, at the head of a horde of irregular 
horsemen, overran Moravia, committing the most frightful 
devastation and carrying off eighty thousand Christians as 
captives for sale as slaves. 

After the capture of Neuhausel, Ahmed Kiuprili took 
other minor strongholds in the neighbourhood, and then 
returned to Belgrade for winter quarters. In the following 
year he again issued from Belgrade with his army and 
marched to Neuhausel. He then crossed the River Mur 
and captured Serivar, and on July 26 he reached 
Komorn, on the River Raab, on the frontier of Hungary 
and Styria. The Austro -Hungarian army, under the com- 
mand of the Comte Montecuculi, a general of great 
reputation — an Italian by birth and the rival of Turenne 
— held a position on the River Raab not far from Komorn. 
It was greatly inferior in numbers to that of the Ottomans. 
But since the last great battle between the two Powers 


at Cerestes the Austrians had greatly impiroved in the 
quality of their generals and officers and in their arma- 
ments. The discipline of the Ottomlan troops was no 
longer what it had been, and they had not kept pace in 
the improvement in guns. 

On August I, 1664, the two armies met near to the 
Convent of St. Gotthard, which gave its name to a memor- 
able battle. In spite of their great numerical superiority, 
the Ottomans met with a severe defeat, largely due to 
the charge of heavy cavalry of the Austrians, under the 
command of Prince Charles of Lorraine, soon to become 
famous as a general. The Turks lost ten thousand men, 
many of whom were driven into the River Raab and were 
drowned. Thirty thousand of their cavalry, who were 
spectators of the battle from the other side of the River 
Raab, took to flight when they saw the issue of the battle 
and abandoned fifteen guns. The Grand Vizier was able 
to draw off the main body of his army without further 
loss. The Austrian losses were heavy, and they made 
no effort to follow up their victory. The battle, how- 
ever, was of supreme importance, for it was ihe first great 
defeat of the Ottomans in the field by the Austrians. It 
broke the prestige of the former, which had been unques- 
tioned since the battle of Mohacz in 1526. 

In spite of their victory, the Austrians were wilHng to 
negotiate with the Grand Vizier for terms of peace, and 
ten days after the battle a treaty was signed at Vascar, 
where the Turks were encamped. It was, in the main, 
a renewal of the treaty of Silvatorok. So far as it differed, 
it was favourable to the Ottomans. It provided that 
Transylvania was to be evacuated by both Austrians and 
Turks. It recognized Apafy, whose claims had been main- 
tained by the latter, as prince of that province, subject 
to payment of tribute to the Sultan. Serivar and 
Neuhausel were to remain in the hands of the Sultan. Of 
seven palatinates occupied by the Ottomans, four were to 
remain in their hands and three were to be restored to the 
Emperor. Ahmed Kiuprili had every reason to be satis- 
fied with this treaty. Though defeated in a pitched battle, 
he had added to the Empire of the Sultan. He led his 
armies into winter quarters again at Belgrade at the en_d 
of October, and on his return to Constantinople received 
a popular ovation. 


In 1667 Ahmed entered upon another campaign. He 
was determined to bring to a successful issue the siege 
of Candia, which for so many years had baffled all the 
efforts of his predecessors. He landed in the island of 
Crete with large reinforcements. The city of Candia was 
defended with the utmost tenacity and courage by the 
Venetians, imder the command of Morosini^ later famous 
for the conquest of the Morea. Ahmed spent nearly three 
years before the city. He urged on the siege with great 
engineering skill. The Venetians made every effort to 
retain possession of the city and of the island by offers 
of large sums of money. Ahmed Kiuprili proudly replied 
to these overtures : " We are not money-dealers. We 
make war to win Candia, and at no price will we 
abandon it." 

In the course of 1669 the prospect of a successful 
defence of the city was increased by the arrival of a 
French fleet, commanded by the Due de Noailles, and 
having on board the flower of the French nobility and six 
thousand soldiers. They were joined later by auxiliary 
squadrons of the Pope and the Knights of Malta. The 
combined fleet, consisting of seventy vessels, bombarded 
the Ottomans from the sea, while the besieged opened fire 
on their front. The allies hoped to place the Turks between 
two fires and to draw them from the trenches v/hich invested 
the city by land. The attack, however, failed owing to 
the accidental blowing up of some of the attacking vessels. 
This brought confusion into the whole line. A sortie of 
the garrison was also unsuccessful. Later, a serious mis- 
understanding arose between Morosini and the Due de 
Noailles, which led to the departure of the allied fleet 
and the abandonment of the city to its own resources. 
The garrison was now reduced to four thousand men 
capable of bearing arms. Defence against the overwhelm- 
ing forces of the Turks was impossible. Terms of 
surrender were agreed to. The siege, which had lasted 
for nearly twenty -five years, was brought to an end. Favour- 
able terms were accorded to Morosini and the garrison. 
The whole island fell into the hands of the Ottomans, and 
shortly after this a treaty of peace was effected with the 
Republic of Venice, which recognized the transfer of Crete, 
with the exception of three small ports on its coast, which 
were retained for commercial purposes. 


A third war was undertaken in 1672 by Ahmed Kiuprili 
against Poland in support of the Cossacks of the Ukraine, 
who had risen against their oppressors, the Poles, and had 
appealed to the Porte for protection against the invasion 
of their country by Sobieski. It Was decided by Ahmed 
to support these insurgents. An army of s\x thousand 
was sent there, in concert with a much larger force of 
Tartars from the Crimea. The Czar of Russia joined 
with the King of Poland in protesting against this inter- 
vention of the Porte. The proi^d answer of the Porte 
was : — 

God be praised, such is the strength of Islam that the union of Russians 
and Poles matters not to us. Our Empire has increased in might since 
its origin ; nor have all the Christian kings that have leagued against us 
been able to pluck a hair from our beard. With God's grace it shall ever 
be so, and our Empire shall endure to the Day of Judgment. 

Ahmed Kiuprili himself, in a letter written in his own 
hand to the Polish envoy, defended his action in terms 
which might well have been quoted later when the Christian 
subjects of Turkey rose in arms against their oppressors 
and claimed the assistance of Russia. 

The Cossacks [he said], a free people, placed themselves under the 
Poles, but being unable to endure Polish oppression any longer, they have 
sought protection elsewhere, and they are now under the Turkish banner. 
If the inhabitants of an oppressed country, in order to obtain deliverance, 
implore the aid of a mighty emperor, is it prudent to pursue them in such 
an asylum ? When the most mighty and most glorious of all emperors is 
seen to deliver and succour from their enemies those who are oppressed, 
and who ask him for protection, a wise man will know on which side the 
blame of breaking peace ought to rest. If, in order to quench the fire 
of discord, negotiation is wished for, so let it be. But if the solution of 
differences is referred to that keen and decisive judge called ' the Sword,' 
the issue of the strife must be pronounced by God, by whose aid Islam 
has for a thousand years triumphed over its foes.* 

In the campaign of 1672, the important city pf 
Kaminiec, the capital of Podolia, was captured. The King 
of Poland then sued for peace, and the treaty of Bucsacs 
was agreed to, under which the province of Podolia was 
ceded to the Sultan. The treaty, however, was disavowed 

* Von Hammer, xi. p. 378. 


by Sobieski and the principal nobles of Poland. They 
renewed the war against the Turks. It lasted for four 
years. In 1673 the Turkish army, under Ahmed Kiuprili, 
met with a crushing defeat from the Poles, under Sobieski, 
near Choczim. His camp was surprised. The Wallachians 
and Moldavians deserted him on the field and went over 
to the enemy. There was great slaughter of the 
Turks. In the following year the Turks returned to the 
charge, but were again worsted. In 1675 Sobieski, aided 
by the Russians, gained another great victory over the 
Turks at Lemberg. But in the following year the Turks, 
under the command of Ibrahim Pasha, turned the tables 
on the Poles. The superior resources of the Turks, under 
the able administration of Kiuprili, told at last in their 
favour. Sobieski, who had become King of Poland, was 
defeated. The whole of Podolia fell into the hands of 
the Ottomans. Sobieski was now willing to come to terms. 
Under the treaty of Zurawna (October 27, 1676) terms 
rather more favourable than those under the repudiated 
treaty of Bucsacs were conceded to the Ottomans. Podolia 
was ceded to them. 

Ahmed Kiuprili died a few days after the signature of 
this treaty from the effect of drink. Though lie had 
incurred severe defeats at the hands of the Austrians and 
Poles, he had retrieved them by his persistence and by 
the effective use of the resources of the Empire, which 
he enlarged by the province of Podolia, the island of 
Crete, and the district of Neuhausel and Serinvar, in 
Hungary.* These entitle him to be ranked among the 
makers of the Em'pire so far as Europe wias concerned. 
His enlightened administration, his humane and just bear- 
ing, his insistence on equal justice for all, irrespective 
of religious creeds, his strict observance of his plighted 
faith in public and private affairs, in matters great and 
small, his patronage of science and literature, earned for 
him a place in the first rank of Turkish statesm.en. 

It was hoped in many quarters that the Sultan would 
appoint as successor to Ahmed Kiuprili his brother, 2^de 
Mustapha Kiuprili, who had shown as governor of provinces 
that he had many of Ahmed's high" qualities. In an evil 
moment Mahomet conferred the post of Grand Vizier on 
his son-in-law, a favourite companion in the chase, Kara 
Mustapha — the black Mustapha — who was notorious for his 


bloodthirsty disposition and his avidity and corruption. This 
seems to have been one of the few lacts of the Sultan 
Mahomet IV where he exercised his royal prerogative, for 
as a rule he left everything to his Vizier, when appointed, 
and cared for nothing but the pleasures of the chase. A 
more unfortunate appointment could not have been made. 
Thirteen years elapsed before Zade KiupriH was at last in- 
vested with the office. They were years fraught with 
disaster to the Empire. 

The first military effort of the newi Grand Vizier was to 
lead an army in 1678 across the Danube into the Uk^raine. 
He came into conflict there with the Russians as well as- 
the Poles, and met with . a severe defeat. The war, 
however, simmered on with varying results till 1 68 i . Peace 
was then concluded with Russia, and the Turks gave up 
the disputed country. 

In 1682 the population in that part of Hungary which 
was under the rule of the Emperor Leopold revolted against 
his bigoted tyranny. Kara Mustapha thought that this 
afforded an opportunity for attacking Austria. He seems 
also to have been inflated with ambition to create a king- 
dom for himself. He collected an enormous army at 
Adrianople, and in the spring of the following year, 1683, 
he crossed the Danube at the head of two hundred and 
seventy -five thousand men, without counting a horde of 
irregular Tartars and camp followers. He mJet with little 
resistance in his march northwards till he Reached the 
walls of Vienna at the head of two hundred thousand men. 
The Emperor, on his part, 'was very ill -provided with troops 
to meet this enormous host of invaders. He had no more 
than thirty-five thousand men under arms. Of these, eleven 
thousand were left to garrison Vienna, and the main body 
was quite insufficient to meet the Turks in the field. In 
his peril the Emperor appealed for aid to Sobieski, the 
King of Poland. The Poles had very recently concluded 
peace with the Turks. But this made no difficulty. Sobieski 
undertook by treaty to send an army of fifty thousand 
men in support of the Emperor. There was a clause in 
the treaty of a significant character. It was not to be 
annulled by any future dispensation of the Pope. The 
Polish armv, however, was at some distance and could 
not reach Vienna in less than eight weeks. There can be 
little doubt that if Kara Mustapha had pressed the siege 


with vigour Vienna must have fallen before the arrival 
of the Polish army. 

This second great siege of Vienna began on July 15, 
1683. The Emperor and his family fled to Bavaria. The 
fortifications of Vienna had been much neglected and 
offered no serious obstacle. But the city was heroically 
and obstinately defended by its commander. Count von 
Stahremberg, who emulated Count Salms of the first siege. 
Twenty thousand of its citizens enrolled in its defence. 
The Turkish batteries shattered the walls. There were 
frequent sorties without avail. It was said that the Ottoman 
army, with its enormous superiority in numbers, might 
easily have carried the city by storm, but that Kara 
Mustapha hoped to gain it by capitulation, in which case 
the wealth of the city would be at his own disposal as 
representative of the Sultan, whereas, if it were taken by 
assault, the great booty would fall mainly to the soldiers. 
He delayed, therefore, the final attack. Meanwhile Sobieski 
had time to bring up his army from Poland and to join 
Prince Charles of Lorraine, who was in command of the 
Imperial troops, making a total force of eighty thousand. 
They crossed the Danube at Tulm by a bridge of boats, 
and then made a detour through a most difficult country 
behind the Kalemberg, so as to attack the Turkish army 
before the city from the rear. Kara Mustapha was guilty 
of incredible neglect in not offering resistance to the cross- 
ing of the Danube by the Christian force, or to their 
passage through the. difficuh country behind the Kalem- 
berg. On September 6th rockets from the Kalemberg 
announced to the garrison of the city that the relieving 
army had occupied these heights behind the Turkish camp. 

When Sobieski saw the great array of the Turkish camp 
exposed to attack, he felt very confident of success. He 
contemptuously said of the Grand Vizier : " This man 
is badly encamped. He knows nothing of war. We shall 
certainly beat him." In an address to his troops he 
said : — 

Warriors and friends, yonder on the plains are our enemies, in numbers 
greater indeed than at Choczim, where we trod them underfoot. We have 
to fight them on a foreign soil, but we fight for our own country, and 
under the walls of Vienna we are defending those of Warsaw and Cracow. 
We have to save to-day not a single city but the whole of Christendom, 
of which the city of Vienna is the bulwark. The war is a holy one. 



There is a blessing on our arms and a crown of glory for him who fallSj^ 
. . . The infidels see you now above their heads, and with hopes blasted 
and courage depressed are escaping among the valleys destined to be 
their graves. I have but one command to give — Follow me ! The time 
is come for the young to win their spurs.^ 

Kara Mustapha, when he saw the Christian army on 
the heights above him, made immediate preparations for 
battle. He gave orders for the massacre of thirty thousand 
Christian captives, mostly women and children, taken 
prisoners on the route to Vienna and destined to be sold 
as slaves. Leaving the best of his men, the Janissaries, 
in the trenches before the city, he concentrated the main 
part of his army to meet the attack of the Poles from 
the rear. Sobieski ranged his army in a great semicircle 
and made a general advance against the Turks. The 
Tartar irregulars fled and carried confusion to the rest of 
the army. Sobieski then led his best troops direct against 
the centre of the Turks. The mass of the Ottoman army 
was broken and routed. Terrible slaughter followed, and 
the whole of the Turkish camp, with immense booty, fell 
into the hands of the Christians. The Janissaries in the 
trenches before the city were then attacked on two sides, 
by the victorious Poles from the rear and by the Viennese 
garrison on the front. They vv^ere cut to pieces and 
annihilated. The victory of Sobieski was complete and 
final. Three hundred guns, nine thousand ammunition 
wagons, and twenty-five thousand tents were captured. 

The Turkish army v^as driven from' the field and, panic- 
stricken, took to flight. Untold thousands of them were 
killed, together with great numbers of pashas and generals. 
Kara Mustapha escaped with the mob of fugitives, carry- 
ing with him the sacred banner of the Prophet. The 
debris of the army, found its way to Raab, and thence to 
Buda, where the Grand Vizier ordered the execution of 
some of the best officers of the army, whom he falsely 
accused of being Responsible for the disaster. He himself 
then made his way to Belgrade, where, in his turn, he 
was put to death, with much more justification, by order of 
the Sultan. His immense and ill-gotteTi wealth was con- 
fiscated by the State. He had lived in unprecedented 
splendour. In his harem were fifteen hundred concubines, 

* Schimmer, Two Sieges of Vientia, p. 137. 


attended each by a servant, and seven hiuindred eunuchs 
to guard them. His own personal servants and horses 
were counted by thousands. 

The second siege of Vienna, thus brought to so glorious 
an end by its brave garrison and by Sobieski, differed 
essentially from that undertaken by, Sultan Solym-,an in 
1529. Solyman was compelled to raise the siege and 
to retreat by the failure of food and munitions. He met 
with no reverse in the field, and he was able to withdraw 
his army intact. Mustapha fought a pitched battle against 
a very inferior army coming in relief of the city, and was 
defeated, and his army was routed and broken up. There 
never was a greater disaster to an army or to a< general. 
It brought most serious results to the Ottoman Empire. 
It broke once for all the prestige of the Turks as a 
conquering nation. It removed the fear of an Ottoman 
invasion which for two centuries had been a nightmare to 
the Central States of Europe. 

The attack on Vienna was practically the last effort 
of the Ottomans to extend their Empire into lan enemy's 
country. Henceforth they were almost always on the de- 
fensive. It will be seen that the defeat of the huge army 
by Sobieski resulted in the loss to the Turks of the greater 
part of their conquests in Hungary, and that, in a few years, 
it led to their being- driven across the Danube. 

Sobieski and Lorraine, after their great victory in front 
of Vienna, followed it up with vigour. At Paskenay 
they fell into an ambuscade prepared for them' by the 
retreating Turks and lost two thousand men, but two days 
later they attacked the enemy and 'defeated them' with 
great slaughter. The bridge of boats across the Danube 
by which the Turks retreated was broken by the rush 
of fugitives and seven thousand were killed or drowned. 
The Christian army then pressed on to Gran and invested 
and captured that important fortress. It had been in posses- 
sion of the Turks for many years. Henceforth it was a 
rampart of Austria and Hungary against them. This con- 
cluded the year's campaign. The Austrians and Poles 
v/ent into winter quarters. 

?vlean while the effect of the great victory at Vienna was 
to stimulate other Powers to join the combination against 
the Turks. The Pope preached another crusacSe against 
them— the fourteenth. The Republic of Venice fitted out 


a fleet, which was joined by galleys of the Pope, 
the Knights of Malta, and the Grand Duke of Tuscany. 
In the following year this fleet attacked and captured the 
island of Santa Maura and the city of Prevesa, at the 
entrance to the Gulf of Arta. A Venetian army also 
invaded Bosnia and Albania. 

In this year also (1684) the Ai^strians, under Lorraine, 
issuing from Gran, crossed the Danube and attacked and 
defeated the Turks at Warzen, and again in another battle 
before Buda, and tihen besieged that fortress. But after 
some weeks they were compelled by the rainy season and 
disease in the army to raise the siege and retreat. Mean- 
while another Austrian army advanced into Croatia land 
fought and defeated the Turks. As a result of this the 
province of Croatia, which had been for one hundred and 
fifty -one years under Turkish rule, was freed from it, and 
was thenceforward an Austro-Hungarian possession. 

In the following year, 1685, the Austrians made further 
progress. The important stronghold of Neuhausel, which 
twenty -two years previously had been captured by the Turks, 
was now recaptured after a desperate resistance. Of its 
garrison of three thousand men only two hundred survived. 
The women and children of the Turks were sold to land- 
owners in the Austrian Empire. The capture of this city 
was the cause of great rejoicing throughout Europe. In 
1686 the siege of Buda was renewed. The Imperial army 
consisted of ninety thousand men — Germans, Hungarians, 
and Croats. It was under the command of the Prince 
of Lorraine. The siege was commenced on Ju^e ,i8th. 
Three attempts to relieve it lunder Grand Vizier Solyman 
failed. After six weeks of siege the Au;strians assaulted 
and captured the city. Its brave defender, Abdi Pasha, 
and its garrison perished, and the city was given up to 
ruthless sack. The city had been in possession of the 
Turks for a hundred and forty -five years, and during this 
time had resisted successfully six sieges. It now passed 
finally, into the hands of the Hilngarians. 

The campaign of the following year, 1687, was opened 
on thte Drave. The Grand Vizier led an army of fifty 
thousand men and sixty-six guns. It met the Austrians 
at Mohacz on the very field where, a hundred and 
sixty years previously, the Hungarians had been defeated 
in the battle which gave; one -half of their country to the 



Turks. The Ottomans were now in their turn defeated 
and routed. Twenty thousand of them were killed, while 
the loss of the successful army wias only a thousand. 
Slavonia was in the same year cleared of all Turkish 
forces, and was permanently restored to Austria, while in 
Transylvania the Voivode Apafy, who owed his position 
to the Turks, now turned against them. 

Meanwhile the Venetians had been equally successful 
during the past three years. Their army, under Morosini, 
invaded the Morea in 1686, captured all its istrongholds, 
and drove the Turks from the country. They also success- 
fully invaded Dalmatia. In 1687 they attacked and 
captured the Piraeus and Athens. It was on this occasion 
that the Parthenon, which, in spite of many centuries of 
war and dangers of all kinds, still existed in all its 
original grandeur and beauty, was irreparably ruined. The 
Turks had made use of it as a powder magazine, thinking 
probably that it was safe from attack. A bomb from 
the Venetian batteries exploded there, whether purposely 
or not, and converted the temple into a ruin as we now 
see it. The whole of Greece was now practically in the 
hands of the Venetians. The Greek population had given 
no aid to the Turks in resisting the new invaders. They 
had soon to learn that there was little to choose between 
their old and their ne\^^ masters. If anything, the Venetians 
proved to be the more tyrannical and rapacious. 

On the conclusion of the campaign of 1687 in Hungary 
the Turkish army, as a result of its long series of defeats, 
was seething with discontent, and was almost in la state 
of mutiny. Its leading officers met and petitioned the 
Sultan, demanding the dismissal and execution of its 
general, the Grand Vizier Solyman. They elected Siawiousch 
Pasha as their general. The army then retreated across 
the Danube to Philippopolis, and thence to Adrianople, from 
whence it sent a deputation to the Sultan to enforce its 
views. The Sultan summoned a great Council of State, 
at which it was decided to accede to the demands of the 
army. Siawousch Pasha was appointed Grand Vizier in 
place of Solyman, who was soon after put to death by 
order of the Sultan. It was hoped by this concession 
to appease the army, and to prevent its march to 
Constantinople. The army, however, persisted in its 
threatening attitude and renewed its march to the capital. 


It now increased its demands. It insisted on the deposition 
of the Sultan. There was general concurrence in ithis 
among officials at Constantinople. Mustapha Kiuprili, the 
brother of the late Ahmed Kiuprili, who was Kaimachan, 
and performed the duties of Grand Vizier in his absence 
from the capital, called an assemibly of ulemas at St. 
Sophia. He addressed them in these words : — 

Since the Padishah thinks only of diverting himself in the chase, and 
at the time when the Empire is assaulted from all quarters we have seen 
him dismiss all men capable of repairing our misfortunes, can you doubt 
any longer that the dethronement of a Padishah who thus conducts the 
affairs of the State is legally permitted ? 

The ulemas unanimously concurred. They decided on 
the dethronement of Sultan Mahomet and his replacement 
on the throne, not by his son, but by his legal heir, his 
next brother, Solyman. They then betook themselves to 
the abode in the Seraglio where that prince was secluded, 
called him forth, and annou,nced to him their decision, 
citing in favour of it a verse from the Koran : " We 
have named you to be Khalifif of the country." 

There was no opposition to this. Solyman, who had 
spent his life in seclusion, in constant fear of being 
murdered by his brother, and who was only saved by 
the brave efforts of the Sultana Valid^, his mother, came 
out of what was virtually a prison to be invested with the 
insignia of Sultan. Mahomet, who had reigned as Sultan 
for thirty -nine years, which he had devoted wholly to 
the chase, to the neglect of every duty of his great office, 
retired to the secluded building which his brother had 
occupied so long. He died there a few years later, 
regretted by no one. 

Von Hammer gives a detailed account of one of Sultan 
Mahomet's organized expeditions in pursuit of game, which 
may be worth quoting as an illustration of his pursuits 
and character. The scene of it was between Adrianople 
and Tirnova, and it occurred in 1683, the year in which 
his army was engaged in the invasion of Austria and on the 
siege of Vienna. Thirty thousand peasants were brought from 
all parts for the purpose of beating the woods and putting 
up the game. For their subsistence a levy was made on 
the 'district of 150,000 marks. This battue cost the lives 


of a great number of beaters, who succumbed to the fatigue 
of the operations. Many rayas were brought from as 
far as Belgrade for the occasion. The SuUan, on seeing 
the bodies of those who had perished, said to his followers : 
"These men would doubtless have rebelled against me. 
They have received their punishment in anticipation of 

Mahomet, it would seem, owed his deposition not so 
much to his own callous neglect of his duties as Sultan 
as to the arrogant incapacity of Kara Mustapha in his 
campaign against Vienna and the imbecility of the two 
succeeding Grand Viziers, Ibrahim and Solyman. 

Solyman, who thus mounted the throne in 1687, at the 
age of forty -one, showed greater capacity than was to be 
expected after his long seclusion in ' the Cage,' but 
he was quite unequal to the task of controlling the 
mutinous Janissaries. They filled Constantinople with 
riot and slaughter. They pillaged the palaces of the viziers 
and others. They attacked the harem of the Grand Vizier 
Siawousch, whom they had so recently elevated to the 
post. He was killed in bravely defending his harem. His 
favourite wife and sister were dragged naked through the 
streets after being cruelly mutilated. The disorder of the 
capital became so unendurable that the population rose 
in arms and assisted the authorities in resisting the 
Janissaries. Their Agha and principal officers were put 
to death, and order was at last restored. 

In the spring of the next year, 1688, a well equipped 
army was sent to the Hungarian frontier, in the hope of 
retrieving the defeats of the past five years. The Austrians, 
however, had made good use of the interval. They had 
now three armies in the field, under the command of 
Prince Charles of Lorraine, Prince Louis of Baden, and 
Prince Eugene of Savoy — ^all three generals of exceptional 
ability. They invested the fortress of Erlau and captured 
it. The road to Belgrade now lay open to them. This 
supremely important city, the bulwark to the Balkans and 
the gateway to Hungary, was treacherously surrendered 
by its garrison in August 1688 after a bombardment of 
only twenty -one days. Prince Louis of Baden about the 
same time invaded Bosnia and occupied a great part of 
it. Dalmatia revolted and threw over Turkish rule. Nisch 
was later occupied by the Austrians, and Widdin, on the 


Danube, fell into their hands. By 1689 the only fortresses 
in Hungary remaining to the Turks Were Temesvar and 

Farther eastward the Turks had been more fortunate. 
An army of Tartars from the Crimea overran Poland in 
1688 and defeated a Polish army on the Sereth. In 
the following year, when Russia joined in the combination 
against the Ottomans and sent an army into the Crimea, 
it met with a severe defeat. These were the only rays of 
light to the Turks. Elsewhere they met with a succession of 
disasters. The Balkan provinces, for the first time since the 
days of Hunyadi, were threatened by the Austrians. Parts 
of Bosnia and Serbia were in their hands. The whole of 
Greece and Albania had been conquered by the Venetians, 
under Morosini, and the Turkish fleets had been swept 
off the Mediterranean by the combined fleets of Venice, 
the Pope, the Knights of Malta, and the Duke of Tuscany. 
On the Ottoman side no single general of any capacity 
had appeared. 

It was under these conditions that a general council of 
the Empire was summoned at Adrianople at the end of 
1689. After a long discussion, it advised the Sultan to 
appoint as Grand Vizier Zade Kiuprili, who had been 
passed over by Sultan Mahomet IV in favour of the corrupt 
and incompetent Kara Mustapha after the death of Ahmed 
Kiuprili. After thirteen years of misgovernment and 
calamity this third member of the Kiuprili family was 
called to power. He showed at once great vigour and 
capacity. Addressing the chief dignitaries of the Empire, 
he described the perilous condition of affairs : ** If we 
go on as we have been in the past, another campaign will 
see the enemy encamped before Constantinople." He took 
immediate steps to restore the financial position. 

Zad^ Kiuprili repleted the treasury by h^avy contributions 
on the officials, who had enriched themselves at the 
expense of the public. He filled the ranks of the army 
by calling out veterans. He revived the Ottoman navy. 
He fitted out a flotilla of vessels for service on the Danube. 
He replaced a number of incompetent and corrupt governors 
by honest men on whom he could rely. He endeavoured 
to win the support of the Christian rayas throughout Ithe 
Empire. He issued imperative orders to all governors 
and pashas that no one should be allowed to oppress the 


rayas. No taxes were to be levied on them except the 
capitation tax. He allowed the Christians everywhere to 
build churches, though he himself was a most strict Mussul- 
man. He freed trade from many unwise and unnecessary 
restrictions. He was personally austere and simple in his 
habits, very reserved in his utterances. It was said of him 
that he never committed a crime and never used a super- 
fluous word . He was commonly called * Kiuprili the 
Virtuous.* Unfortunately for his country, he held the post 
of Grand Vizier for less than two years, for it will be 
seen that he was killed in battle in 1691. 

At the time when he assumed the Grand Vizierate the 
Austrians had crossed the Danube and had advanced far 
into Macedonia. Kiuprili sent an army against them and 
defeated them in two engagements. As a result, nearly 
all the important posts south of the Danube were recovered 
and the pressure on the Empire in this quarter was removed. 
Zade Kiuprili now took command of the army in person, 
and in August, 1690^ advanced through' Bulgaria, drove 
the Austrians from their position between Sofia and 
Nisch, and besieged and captured the latter place. He then 
attacked and captured in succession Semendria, Widdin, 
and Belgrade. Another Ottoman army under Tekeli Pasha 
invaded Transylvania and drove the Austrians from it. 
Kiuprili returned to Constantinople covered with glory. 

About this time Sultan Solyman died and was succeeded 
by his brother, Achmet IT, who, like himself, had been 
brought up in the seclusion of the Seraglio, and was quite 
incompetent to rule the Empire or to lead its armies. 
Fortunately he left matters in the hands of his Grand Vizier. 
Kiuprili again led the army in the field and, advancing from 
Belgrade in May, 16^6, marched northwards on the right 
bank of the Danube to meet the Austrians under Prince Louis 
of Baden, who were advancing from Peterwardein. The 
two armies met at Salankemen. Their flotillas eng'aged 
on the Danube and the Turks wtere there the victors. But 
on land the battle ended in great disaster to them. Against 
the advice of the most experienced of his g'enerals, Zade 
Kiuprili insisted on fighting, without waiting for rein- 
forcements that were on their way. A most desperate 
battle took place in which' the Turks were completely 
defeated. The Grand Vizier, in the hope of restoring the 
fortunes of the day, rushed into the mel^e, sw'ord in hand. 


and was killed while hewing' his way through the Austrian 
ranks. The Turkish troops were dispirited by the death 
of their general and gave way. Panic and rout followed. 
The Turkish camp and a hundred and twenty guns fell 
into the hands of the Austrians. About the same time 
Tekeli Pasha was also defeated by the Austrians and was 
driven out of Transylvania. The Ottoman Empire was 
again ait a very low ebb after these disasters. Sultan 
Achmet died heartbroken by the burden of shame and grief, 
and was succeeded by his nephew, Mustapha II, the son of 
Mahomet IV. 

The new Sultan was not wanting in the will to relieve the 
plight of his country, but it will be seen that he had not 
the capacity or the persistency required in such an emer'- 
gency. He fully recognized that the main causes of disaster 
were the dissolute habits and incapacity of his predecessors. 
Immediately after his accession 'to the throne he issued a 
Platti-Scheriff in which he announced his intention of restor- 
ing ancient usages and leading his armies in person. In 
the course of this notable document he said : — 

Under monarchs who are the slaves of pleasure or who resign them- 
selves to indolent slumber, never do the servants of God enjoy peace 
or repose. Henceforth voluptuousness, idle pastime, and sloth are 
banished from this Court. While the Padishahs who have ruled since 
the death of our sublime father Mahomet have heeded naught but their 
fondness for pleasure and for ease, the unbelievers, the unclean beings, 
have invaded with their armies the four frontiers of Islam. They have 
subdued our provinces. They have pillaged the goods of the people of 
Mahomet. They have dragged away into slavery the faithful with their 
wives and little ones. This is known to all, as it is known to me. I therefore 
have resolved, with the help of the Lord, to take a signal revenge upon 
the unbelievers, that brood of hell ; and I will myself begin the holy war 
against them. . . . Do thou, my Grand Vizier, and ye others, my viziers, 
my ulemas, my lieutenants and agas of my armies, do ye all of you assemble 
round my person and meditate well on this my imperial Hatti-Scheriff. 
Take counsel and inform me if I ought to open hostilities in person against 
the Emperor or remain at Adrianople. Of these two measures choose 
that which will be most profitable to the Faith to the Empire and to the 
servants of God.' 

In response to t*his, the Divan met and discussed for 
three days whether the new Sultan should command in 

* Yon Hammer, xii, p. 372, 


person the army about to be sent against the Austrians. 
They came to an adverse decision. They thought that it 
would not only 'expose the sacred person of the Sultan to too 
much risk, but would also involve excessive expense. They 
probably thought also, but scarcely dared to express it, 
that the Sultan, being quite inexperienced in military matters, 
would be an encumbrance to the army. They advised the 
Sultan that he ought not to commit his imperial person 
to the chances of a campaign, but would do better to leave 
the conduct of the war to the Grand Vizier. The Sultafi 
replied in the laconic w^ords, " I persist in marching*." In 
accordance with this decision, Mustapha in person, in spite 
of his inexperience, led a well appointed army in the summer 
of 1696 from Belgrade to Temesvar, capturing on the 
way various minor fortified places. His first encounter 
with the enemy near Temesvar was successful. The 
Austrians were defeated with heavy loss and Temesvar was 
relieved. Mustapha, however, did not pursue his success 
further. He returned to Constantinople and there received 
an ovation. 

In the following year, 1697, Mustapha again marched 
with his army from Belgrade into Hungary, without any 
definite plans as to what he proposed to do. After many 
councils of war and much irresolution, it was decided to 
advance northwards to the River Theiss. The Austrian 
army w'as no\v imder command of Prince Eugene of Savoy, 
who, we have seen, made his debut at the siege of Vienna. 
He was the ablest g'eneral of his time. The two armies 
met at Zenta on the River Theiss, about sixty miles above 
its junction with the Danube. The Turks had erected a 
bridge over the river at this point. The Sultan and his 
cavalry, and a great part of the artillery, had already 
crossed tlie bridge. The infantry were still on the other 
side. Prince Eugene with his army, coming suddenly upon 
them, caught the Turkish army in flagrante delicto, divided 
by the river. Advancing in a wide crescent, he attacked 
the whole line of the Ottoman infantry who had not crossed 
the river. There was great confusion in the ranks of the 
Ottomans and discord among the leading officers and a 
want of direction. A large body of Janissaries mutinied 
on the field of battle and began to massacre their officers. 
There ensued an overwhelming defeat of the Ottomans. 
Twenty -six thousand Turks v/ere slain on the battlefiel(i 


and ten thousand were drowned in their attempt to cross 
the river. 

The Grand Vizier, four other viziers, and a great number 
of pashas and thirty aghas of Janissaries were killed ; four 
hundred and twenty standards were captured. The Sultan, 
who had witnessed the battle from the other side of 
the river in comparative safety, was able to escape with 
some of his cavalry to Temesvar, and thence he returndd 
to Belgrade and Constantinople. This experience satisfied 
his military ardour, and he never again appeared at the 
head of his army. An immense booty fell into the hands 
of the Austrians. All the Turkish g^uns were captured. 
What remained of the army defeated at Zenta found its 
way to Belgrade, and thence returned to Adrianople, while 
Prince Eugene crossed the Danube into Bosnia and made 
himself master of the greater part of that province. 
This great victory of the Austrians, after fourteen years of 
almost uninterrupted success, decided not only the campaign 
but the war in their favour, and marked irrevocably the 
decadence of the military power of the Ottoman Empire. 

Six days after the battle the Sultan, in his peril, turned 
once more to the Kiuprili family for help. In place of the 
Grand Vizier, who had been killed at Zenta, he appointed 
Hussein Kiuprili, a son of the elder brother of Mohammed 
Kiuprili, and therefore a cousin of Ahmed. Until the 
siege of Vienna he had given himself up to a life of pleasure, 
but after that grave defeiat of the Turks he filled with 
great distinction many high posts in the government. He 
was the fourth member of his family to hold the position of 
Grand Vizier, and showed himself fully capable of bearing 
the burden. 

In the course of the following winter of 1697-8, many 
efforts were made to bring about peace. Lord Pag^et, the 
British Ambassador, ofTered the mediation of Great Britain 
and Holland on the principle of Uti possidetisr—tliZLt each 
of the Powers concerned, Austria, Venice, and Poland, were 
to retain what they had wrested from Turkey. Hussein 
Kiuprili summoned a great Council of State to consider this. 
He had personally fought at St. Gotthard and other battles, 
and fully recognized the superiority of the Austrian army. 
The Ottomans, since the siege of Vienna, had been defeated 
by them in nine great battles, and had lost by siege 
nine fortresses of the first rank. He felt that if the war 


were prolonged there would be further reverses of the .same 
kind. At his instance, it was decided by the Council to 
accept the mediation of Great Britain and Holland, The 
other Powers, with the exception of Russia, were equally 
willing. The Czar, Peter the Great, alone objected, and 
warned the other Powers not to trust in Great Britain and 
Holland, who, he said, were only thinking of their own 
commercial interests. In spite of his efforts, it was decided 
to hold a Teace Congress, at which all these Powers, includ- 
ing Russia, eventually were represented. It was held at 
Carlowitz, no't far from Peterwarden, on the Danube, and 
after seventy -two days' discussion and negotiation it resulted 
in peace on the basis suggested by Lord Paget. Austria, 
it was finally agreed, was to retain possession of Tran.-» 
sylvania and Sclavonia and o\i all Hungary north of the 
River Marosch and west of the River Theiss. This left to 
the Ottomans only about one -third of their previous 
dominions in Hungary. The Emperor also was relieved 
from payment of tribute in respect of Hungary and Tran- 
sylvania. The Republic of Venice was to retain the Morea 
and Albania, but was to give up its conquests north of the 
Isthmus of Corinth^ — the only departure from the principle 
of Utl possidetis. The Republic was also relieved from 
payment of tribute to the Porte in respect of the island of 
Zante. Poland was to retain Podolia. Russia was to have 
Azoff and the districts north of the Sea of Azoff which were 
actually in her occupation. The Czar Peter was dissatisfied 
with this and refused to enter into a treaty upon these terms. 
He would only agree to an armistice for two years pn 
this basis. The other three Powers concerned entered into 
treaties of peace for twenty-five years. 

This treaty of Carlowitz was of supreme importance in 
the international relations of Europe. It recognized for 
first time that the status of the Ottoman Empire was a matter 
for the concern of aU the Powers of Europe, and not 
only of those at war with it. It established the principle 
of equality of the Powers concerned, and rejected finally 
the pretensions of the Ottoman Empire, foimded on its long 
career of conquest. Thenceforth' there was no longier any 
fear of the invasion of Central Europe by the Turks. 
The settlement was not so ignominious to them as the later 
treaties of Passarowitch, Kainardji, Adrianople, and Berlin, 
but not the less it was a great triumph for the Christian 


Powers of Europe. In view of the long series of defeaits 
of the Ottoman army and the exhausted state of the Empire, 
Hussein KiupriH acted the part of a wise statesman in assent- 
ing to the treaty. If his advice and that of other members 
of his family had been followed, and the Christian subjects 
of the Empire had been treated with justice, later humilia- 
tions might have been avoided, and the Empire might 
have survived intact to a much later date. 

Hussein Kiuprili retained the post of Grand Vizier for 
three years after the treaty of Carlowitz. During this 
time he showed that he had most of the qualities of his more 
distinguished relative, Ahmed Kiuprili. He was a man 
of high culture and public spirit. He did his best by 
wise and salutary reforms to stem the growing evils of 
the State. He aimed at curbing the mutinous power of the 
Janissaries. He endeavoured in many ways to improve 
the deplorable condition of the rayas. His reforms imet 
with violent opposition from reactionaries. His health broke 
down under the stress and he was compelled to resign his 
post. He died within a few weeks, in 1702. His reforms 
did not survive him. His successor, Daltaban Pasha, iwas 
a man of a totally different type, a savage Serbian, who 
could neither read nor write, and who had acquired a 
reputation for gross cruelty which he fully justified in 
his more exalted position. 

Once again, in 17 10, another member of the KiupriH 
family, Nououman Kiuprili, was appointed Grand Vizier, 
but though he had many of the virtues of his race he did 
not prove to be equal to the post. He insisted on attempt- 
ing to do too much. He interfered with every detail of 
the State and accumulated the hostility of all his 
subordinates. The affairs of the government fell into 
confusion and he was in consequence deposed after a very 
few months. The names of five other members of the 
same family appear in the history of the next few years 
as generals and governors of provinces. 

it may be doubted whether in the annals of any country 
a single family has produced so many distinginshed men, 
owing their position, not to personal favour, but to their 
own merits and to the exigencies of the State. The case 
is unique in the history of Turkey, where it would be 
difficult to find another instance where two members of 
any family rose to distinction. 




MUSTAPHA did not long survive as Sultan the death of his 
great Vizier, Hussein, the fourth of the KiupriHs. He had 
not fulfilled the early expectation of his reign, when, against 
the advice of the Divan, he took command of his army 
in the field. Disappointed and discouraged by his failure, 
he fell back on a life of indolence and debauchery. After 
the death of Hussein Kiuprili there was widespread dis- 
content throughout the Empire, and in most parts imminent 
danger of rebellion. Mustapha had not the courage to 
cope with it. He abdicated the throne and retired volun- 
tarily to the Cage. He was succeeded by his brother, 
Achmet III^ at the age of thirty, who reigned for twenty- 
seven years till he was deposed at the instigation of the 

Achmet had not been subjected by his uncle to the 
customary seclusion. He came to the throne, therefore, 
with greater knowledge of the world. He was not a 
warrior. He did not attempt to lead his armies in the 
field. But he did not allow the affairs of State to fall into 
the hands of women of his harem. Neither did he permit 
ambitious Viziers to monopolize power. He changed them 
so often that this was impossible. During the first fifteen 
years of liis reign there were twelve Grand Viziers. Jt 
was imputed to him that these frequent changes were due 
to his want of money and the extravagances of his harem. 
It was the custom for Grand Viziers, on their appointment, 
to make very large presents in money to the Sultan, and 
Achmet looked on this as a source of income. But during 
their short tenures of office he interfered very Httle with 

them. He was, however, personally in favour of a policy 



of peace, and supported his Viziers in its maintenance. The 
first six years and the last twelve years of his reign w^re 
periods of almost iunbroken peace to the Empire. In the 
other nine years there were many important events bearing 
on the extension or reduction of his Empire. Territory 
formerly in the possession of the Ottomans was reconquered, 
and provinces long held by them were lost. The city of 
Azoft and its adjoining territory— important for the pro- 
tection of the Crimea — were recovered from Russia. The 
Morea and Albania were reconquered from the Republic 
of Venice. By agreement with Russia a partition was made 
of important provinces belonging to Persia, some of which 
had formerly been in the possession of the Porte. On 
the other hand, as the result of war with Austria, the remain- 
ing part of Hungary, not included in the cession made 
by the treaty of Carlowitz, and considerable parts of 
Serbia and Wallachia were lost to the Empire. The gains 
in territory exceeded in area the losses. But there can be 
little doubt that the loss of prestige by the Ottomans from 
the defeats of their armies by the Austrians under Prince 
Eugene was not compensated for by victories over the 
Venetians and Persians, or over the very inferior army of 
Peter the Great. 

The first of the wars thus referred to was that with 
Russia, then under the rule of Peter the Great. He was 
ambitious of extending his Empire by the acquisition of 
the Crimea, and of thus getting access to the Black Sea. 
It was only after the defeat of Charles XII, the King of 
Sweden, at the battle of Pultowa in 1709, and the conse- 
quent conquest of Livonia, that his hands were free for 
aggression elsewhere. Russia was already in possession of 
the important fortress of Azoff, on the north-east shore of 
the sea of that name. The Czar had also fortified Taganrog 
and other places threatening! the Crimea. The Porte was 
alarmed by these manifest preparations for war. The 
relations of the two Governments were also embittered by 
the fact that the Swedish King, Charles XII, after his 
defeat at Pultowa, sought refuge in Turkey, and that the 
Sultan accorded a generous hospitality to him, and with great 
magnanimity refused the demand of Peter for his extradi- 
tion. It followed that, in 171 1, the Porte anticipated the 
undoubted hostile intention of the Czar, and declared war 
against Russia. An army was sent by the Sultan across 


the River Pruth into Moldavia, under command of Grand 
Vizier Baltadji. This pasha had risen to his post from 
the humble position of woodcutter at the palace, through 
the intrigues of his wife, who had been a slave in the 
Sultan's harem. The Czar, on his part, had collected his 
forces in the south of Poland and marched into Moldavia. 
The two armies met on the River Pruth. The Russian 
army, already greatly reduced in number by want of food 
and disease, numbered no more than twenty -four thousand 
men. The Ottomans, who had been reinforced by a large 
body of Tartars, under the Khan of the Crimea, were at 
least five times more numerous. The Czar Peter, unaware 
that the Ottomans had crossed the Danube, advanced 
rashly on the right bank of the Pruth, and was posted 
between that river and an extensive marsh not far 
from Zurowna. The position was dominated by hills, which 
the Grand Vizier occupied in force, and his numerous and 
powerful guns swept the position of the Russians, cut off 
their access to the river, and completely hemmed them in. 
Their plight is best described in a letter which the Czar 
wrote to the Russian Senate at Moscow from his camp at 
this point : — 

I announce to you that, deceived by false intelligence and without 
blame on my part, I find mj^self shut up in my camp by a Turkish army. 
Our supplies are cut off, and we momentarily expect to be destroyed or 
taken prisoners, unless Heaven should come to our aid in some unexpected 
manner. Should it happen to me to be taken prisoner by the Turks 
you will no longer consider me as your Czar and Sovereign, nor will you 
pay any attention to any orders that may be brought to you from me, not 
even if you recognize my handwriting ; but you will wait for my coming 
in person. If I am to perish here, and 5'ou receive well confirmed 
intelligence of my death, you will then proceed to choose as my successor 
him who is most worthy among you. 

There can be no doubt that the Russian army was com- 
pletely at the mercy of the Ottomans, and might have been 
entirely destroyed or captured. It was saved from either 
fate by the Czar's wife, Catherine. She was the daughter 
of a peasant, married in the first instance to a dragoon in 
the Russian army, and later the mistress of Prince 
Menschikofif . Peter, smitten by her beauty and wit, had 
recently married her, and she was with him on this cam- 
paign. This lady, with great presence of mind, collected 



what money she could, to the value of a few thousand 
roubles, and sent it and her jewellery with a letter to the 
Kiaya of the Grand Vizier, suggesting a suspension of hos- 
tilities with a view to terms of agreement. In this way, 
relations were established between the two generals, and 
a treaty of peace was agreed to. Its terms were very 
humiliating to Russia. Azoff and its surrounding district 
were to be surrendered to the Porte. Taganrog and some 
other fortresses were to be dismantled. Thte Russian army 
was to withdraw from Poland. The King of Sweden was 
to be allowed safe conduct through Russia to his own 
country. There was to be no Russian ambassador in the 
future at Constantinople. In return for these gteat con- 
cessions the Russian army was to be permitted to retreat 
without molestation. 

The preamble to the treaty contained the following 
remarkable admission of the predicament in which the Czar 
and his army were placed : — 

By the grace of God, the victorious Mussulman army has closely 
hemmed the Czar of Muscovy with all his troops in the neighbourhood 
of the River Pruth, and the Czar has aslied for peace, and it is at his 
request that the following articles are drawn up and granted. 

It was also declared in the treaty by the Grand Vizier 
" that he made the peace by virtue of full pow'ers vested 
in him, and that he entreated the Sultan to ratify the 
treaty, and overlook the previous evil conduct of the 

The signing of the treaty of the Pruth was vehemently 
opposed by the King of Sweden, who was in the Ottoman 
camp, and by the Khan of the Crimea. They doubtless had 
good reasons of their own for wishing the war with Russia 
to be prolonged. It was due to their intrigues at Con- 
stantinople that violent opposition was roused to the 
ratification of the treaty. Baltadji foiund on his return that, 
instead of being received with acclamation for having re- 
covered Azoff and other territory, of which the Porte had 
been deprived a few years previooisly, he was dismissed 
from his office with disgrace. The Kiaya Osman and the 
Reis Effendi Omer, who were believed to be largely 
responsible for the treaty, were put to death by order of 
the Sultan. 


The Porte refused to ratify the treaty, and preparations 
were made for a renewal of the war with Russia. But 
wiser counsels ultimately prevailed, largely through the 
advice of the British Ambassador, Sir R. Sutton ; and two 
years later, after long negotiation, another treaty was 
concluded with the Czar, which embodied all the terms 
of that effected by Baltadji which had been so much 
objected to. 

Many historians have found fault with Baltadji for having 
neglected the opportunity of destroying or capturing the 
Russian army and the Czar Peter himself, and for having 
allowed them to escape by concluding the treaty. It has 
been suggested that he was bribed by the Empress 
Catherine. It is, however, inconceivable that one in the 
high position of Grand Vizier, where there were such 
immense opportunities for enrichment, could have sold him- 
self and his country for so small a price. It is more 
probable that the presents of the Empress wfere made to 
the subordinate of the Grand Vizier for the purpose of 
opening negotiations with him. It is also more reasonable 
to conclude that Baltadji was convinced that no better 
terms could be obtained by a prolonglation of the war. 
The destruction of the Russian army or its capture, together 
with the Czar, would have roused the Russian people to 
a great effort to avenge such a disaster. It is significant 
that the Sultan, while putting to death the Kiaya and Reis 
Effendi, spared the life of Baltadji, who was mainly respon- 
sible, and simply dismissed him from the office of Grand 
Vizier. This seems to indicate that the Sultan had given 
authority in advance to Baltadji, as stated in the treaty, to 
agree to terms such as were actually obtained. It seems to 
be unlikely that Sultan Achmet desired to extend his Empire 
beyond the territory of Azoff into the heart of Russia. 
What better terms, then, could have been obtained by 
prolonging the war? 

It has also been contended by some historians that it 
was unwise policy to impose such a humiliation on the 
Czar as that embodied in the treaty ; that it was certain 
to lead to a renewal of the war for the purpose of avenging 
it. But the Czar himself did not apparently take this 
view of the case. After the escape of his army from 
disaster he showed no inclination to renew the war. He 
was willing, two years later, to re-enact the treaty, in 


spite of its humiliating terms. He did not break peace 
with the Turks in the remaining ten years of his reign. 
He did not bear a gludge against them and after a few years 
he entered into an arrangement with the Sultan for the 
partition of a large part of Persia. 

On a review of the whole transaction, we muist conclude 
that the Gr^nd Vizier Baltadji was fully justified in effect- 
ing the treaty of the Pruth, and that it was no small 
achievement, by the skilful manoeuvring of his army and 
without the loss of a single life, to impose term's on 
the Czar, under which the Ottoman Empire recovered 
Azofif and its district, thej key to the Crimea, and 
obtained the other valuable concessions embodied in the 

In 1 7 1 5 the Porte embarked on another war, this time 
against the Republic of Venice, with the object of recover- 
ing the Morea, which sixteen years previously had -been 
conquered by the Republic, when in alliance with Austria, 
and the possession of which had been confirmed to the 
Republic by the treaty of Carlowitz. Morosini, the Venetian 
general by whom this conquest had been achieved, was now 
dead. It was thought that Austria would not intervene. A 
pretext for the war was found in the assistance which the 
Republic rendered to the Montenegrins in an insurrection 
against the Porte. The army, which had been equipped for 
war with Russia, was now available' for other purposes. 
The Gmnd Vizier Damad, who was also otherwise known 
as Coumourgi, son-in-law of the Sultan, took command of 
an army of a hundred thousand men. A fleet of one 
hundred sail co-operated by sea. The Sultan himself 
accompanied the army as far as Larissa, in Thessaly, but 
no farther. He left the direction of it wholly in the 
hands of Damad, who showed great ability in the conduct 
of the war. It commenced with the siege of Corinth, 
which, after a brave defence of three weeks, capitu- 
lated on July 7, 171 5, on favourable terms. But a 
powder magazine blew up during the evacuation of the 
fortress, killing six or seven hundred of the Turkish soldiers. 
This afforded an excuse for breaking the agreement, 
and for a general massacre of Venetians and Greeks, 
whether of the garrison or inhabitants — much to the 
disapproval of Damad. This siege of Corinth formed 
the subject of Lord Byron's wiell -known poem, in 


which Damad is referred to under the - name of 
Coumourgi : — 

Coumourgi — can his glory cease, 
That latest conqueror of Greece, 
Till Christian hands to Greece restore 
The freedom Venice gave of yore ? 
A hundred years have rolled away 
Since he refixed the Moslem sway. 

With poetic licence Byron attributes to the Venetian 
governor of Corinth the setting fire to the powder magazine 
and the fearful destruction of life which it caused : — 

When old Minotli's hand 

Touched with the torch the train — 

'Tis fired. 

There seems to have been no more justification in fact for 
this than for the statement that the Venetians gave liberty 
to the Greeks. Nothing is more certain than that the 
Greeks hated the rule of Venice as more oppressive than 
that of the Turks. 

After the capture of Corinth the Ottoman army, in two 
divisions, invaded the Morea, and had no difhculty in 
capturing all the Venetian fortresses there, such as Modon, 
Coron, and Navarino. The Greek inhabitants gave no 
assistance to their Venetian masters. They welcomed the 
Turks as their deliverers from an odious tyranny. 

The reconquest of the Morea occupied Damad and his 
army for only a hundred and one days. There was no 
pitched battle with the Venetians. The campaign con- 
sisted of a succession of sieges of fortresses. It was 
the intention of the Ottomans to complete the expulsion 
of the Venetians by the capture of Corfu and the other 
Ionian islands, but at this stage the Emperor of Austria, 
Charles VI, intervened, and entered into a defensive alliance 
with the Republic of Venice. It was too late, however, to 
save the Morea. There was much difference of opinion 
at the Court of the Sultan whether the action of Austria 
should be treated as a casus belli . The Grand Vizier Damad 
vehemently contended that it was a breach of the treaty 
of Carlowitz. He was a man of great force of character 


and very eloquent. But there was strong opposition to 
him. The debates in the Divan, in presence of the Sultan, 
have been recorded and are interesting reading. The 
Mufti, when consulted on the subject, gave his judgment 
in favour of Damad. This decided the Council. War 
was declared against Austria, and in 1 7 1 6 an army of 
a hundred and fifty thousand was sent, under command 
of Damad, to attack the Austrians. It reached Belgrade 
in September. A council of war was then held to decide 
whether to advance towards Temesvar or Peterwardein . 
There was again difference on the subject. Damad 
ultimately gave his decision in favour of the latter project. 

The Turks crossed the River Saave by a bridge of boats, 
and then marched along the bank of the Danube towards 
Peterwardein. Their van came in contact with that of the 
Austrians at the village of Carlowitz, where, sixteen years 
before, the last treaty had been signed. From Carlowitz 
to Peterwardein the distance is only two leagues. The 
Austrian army, greatly inferior ,in numbers to that of the 
Turks, was posted in front of the great fortress, behind 
entrenchments which had been made by Siawousch Pasha 
in the last war. It was again commanded by Prince 
Eugene of Savoy, who, in the interval, had gathered fresh 
laurels in many hard -fought battles for Austria, and who 
was second to no living general, save only the Duke of 
Marlborough, by whose side he fought so many battles. 
The two armies came to issue on August 10, 17 16. At 
first the battle went in favour of the Ottomans. Their 
redoubtable Janissaries broke the line of the Austrian 
infantry opposed to them. Prince Eugene then brought 
up his reserve of cavalry. They charged the Janissaries 
with irresistible force, and retrieved the fortunes of the 
day. Damad Pasha, when he saw that the tide of battle 
was turning against him, put himself at the head of a band 
of officers and galloped into the thick of the battle, in 
the hope of infusing fresh courage in his army. He was 
struck down and was carried from the field to Carlowitz, 
where he died. 

As so often happened to the Turks, the loss of their 
leader caused a panic in their ranks and completed their 
discomfiture. Their left wing retreated in the direction of 
Belgrade, and was followed by the debris of the rest of the 
army. One hundred and forty of their guns were captured. 


Their camp and an immense booty fell into the hands of 
the enemy. The battle, however, was not very costly in 
men to either side. The Austrians lost three thousand 
men and the Turks about double the number. Eugene 
followed up his success by the siege of Temesvar, the 
last great stronghold of the Ottomans in Hungary. He 
appeared before it twenty days after the battle of Peter - 
wardein. Its garrison of eighteen thOiUsand men capitulated, 
after a siege of five weeks, on November 25th. This 
completed the campaign of 17 16. The Turks had not 
been more successful in other directions. They were com- 
pelled to raise the siege of Corfu. Their fleet often met 
that of the Venetians and had rather the worst of it, 
though there was no decisive battle. 

In the year following, 1 7 1 7, another large army was 
sent from Constantinople to the Danube, under Grand 
Vizier Khalil, who had succeeded Damad after the battle 
of Peterwardein. It consisted of a hundred and fifty 
thousand men, of whom eighty thousand were Janissaries 
and Spahis. It was no more fortunate than that under 
Damad in the previous year. Prince Eugene, still in com- 
mand of the Austrians, had opened the campaign by 
marching to Belgrade with a force of not more than 
seventy thousand men. He besieged the city and fortress, 
which was garrisoned by thirty thousand Ottomans. W^hen, 
after three weeks of siege, the Ottoman army came in 
sight, so vastly superior in numbers, the position of Eugene 
was most critical. The garrison of Belgrade was in front 
of him and Khalil's army, double in number of his own, 
threatened his rear. 

It is highly probable that if the Ottoman general had 
attacked the Austrians without delay he would have been 
successful. He hesitated and delayed. He ended by an 
effort to besiege the besiegers. He entrenched his army 
in the rear of that of Eugene. The two armies then 
fired their heavy guns on one another without much result. 
The Turks were greatly superior in this respect. They 
were provided with a hundred and forty guns and thirty - 
five mortars. Failure of food would have compelled the 
Turks to an issue. But Prince Eu^^ne anticipated this 
by making an attack himself on the Ottoman lines. Never 
was a bolder course attempted by a general, and never 
was there a more brilliant success. With greatly inferior 


force, the Au^trians stormed the Turkish lines on 
August 1 6, 17 1 7, little more than a year from the 
day on which the battle pf Peterwardein had been 
fought. The Ottomans gave way along their whole line. 
Twenty thousand of them were killed or wounded, while 
the loss of the Austrians in killed was no more than two 
thousand. Prince Eugene himself was wounded for the 
thirteenth time in his great career. The Turks retreated 
in disorder. They lost a hundred and thirty -one guns 
and thirty -five mortars and a vast supply of munitions. 
On the following day Belgrade and its garrison of thirty 
thousand men surrendered. 

After the battle before Belgrade and the capture of 
that fortress, the Austrians advanced and occupied a great 
part of Serbia and Western Wallachia. They appealed 
to the Serbian people to rise against their Ottoman masters, 
but not more than twelve hundred answered the appeal 
and joined the Austrian army. There was no desire on 
the part of the Serbians to exchange Turkish for Austrian 
rule. The occupation by the Austrians of territory south 
of the Danube proved to be temporary. Twenty -two years 
later the Ottomans recaptured Belgrade and drove the 
Austrians from Serbia. 

Meanwhile the Grand Vizier Khalil was dismissed from 
office by the Sultan for the incapacity which he had shown 
in the campaign and in the battle of Belgrade . After 
a time he was succeeded by Damad Ibrahim, a son-in-law 
and lifelong favourite of the Sultan, who held the (post 
for twelve years, till the deposition of Achmet ^n 1730. 
He proved himself in every way worthy of his high office. 
There was a desire in many quarters to embark on another 
campaign for the recovery of Hungary. But in the winter 
of 17 1 7-1 8 the British Ambassador again proposed media- 
tion, on behalf of England and Holland, on the principle 
of Uti possidetis. This was accepted by both Austria and 
the Porte. The Emperor 'was willing to content himself 
with what he had already achieved, the more so as there 
was danger of war in other directions. There was more 
difficulty on the part of the Ottomans. But the Sultan 
and the Grand Vizier ultimately gave their decision in 
favour of peace. 

The precedent of the Congress of Carlowitz was closely 
followed. A congress was held at Passarowitch, a small 


town in Serbia. England and Holland again acted as 
mediators. After long discussion, agreement was arrived 
at, and was embodied in a treaty known as that of 
Passarowitch, on July 21, 17 18. By its terms the whole 
of what remained of Hungary to the Ottoman Empire 
after the treaty of Carlowitz, a large part of Wallachia, 
bounded by the River Aluta, and the greater part of Serbia, 
and a portion of Bosnia bounded by the Rivers Morava, 
Dwina, and Unna, together with the fortresses of Belgrade 
and Semendria, were ceded to the Emperor. 

The Republic of Venice, on whose behalf Austria had 
embarked on the war, fared badly by the treaty. It had 
to give up to Ottoman rule the whole of the Morea which 
had been reconquered by Damad, but received some con- 
cessions in Dalmatia. It was, however, arranged by the 
Congress that the Porte should have an access to the 
Adriatic, so as to protect the Republic of Ragusa from 
Venice. There remained to Venice of its possessions in 
this quarter only the island of Corfu, the other Ionian 
islands, and a few ports on the Albanian and Dalmatian 
coasts. The Porte engaged by the treaty to put a stop 
to the piracy of Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and Ragusa, and 
to prohibit the residence of the Hungarian rebels in the 
vicinity of the new Austrian frontier. 

The treaty of Passarowitch, following on the great defeats 
of the Ottomans at the battles of Peterwardein and Bel- 
grade, was almost as important as that of Carlowitz. It 
determined finally the release of the whole of Hungary 
from the Ottomans. Their rule there had never been more 
than a military occupation. There was no real incorpora- 
tion of the country in the Ottoman Empire. There had 
been no attempt to settle Turks there, or to impose the 
Moslem religion on its population. After the expulsion 
of the garrisons from the various fortresses, all vestiges 
of the Ottomans disappeared, and no trace of them 
remained as evidence that they had ever been masters 
there. J It was a great achievement of the Austrians, for 
which Prince Eugene was mainly responsible. It should 
be added, however, that there does not appear to have 
been any popular rising of the people of Hungary, whether 
Magyars or Sclavs, either in these last two years of war 
or in the previous war of 1698-9, against their Ottoman 

"^ See the Memoires de Morosini, in. pp. 112, 113. 


rulers. It has been shown that the earlier war had its 
commencement in an insurrection against the Austrians 
in that part of Hungary subject to their rule. The Turks 
hoped to take advantage (of this. They appear to have 
been in close relation with these insurgents throughout these 
two wars. The Austrians defeated the Turks and drove 
them out of the country, but their bigoted tyranny was 
not more acceptable to the inhabitants than that of ithe 
Turks. Many years were to elapse before the Magyars of 
Hungary secured for themselves the benefits of self- 
government . 

The war with Austria, which retsulted in the treaty of 
Passarowitch, did something more than free Hungary from 
Ottoman rule. It completed the destruction of the prestige 
of the Turkish armies which had so long weighed on the 
mind of Europe. The great battles of Peterwardein and 
Belgrade, in which the Turks were defeated by Austrian 
armies of very inferior numbers, following as they did 
a long succession of similar defeats from the battle of 
St. Gotthard downwards, showed conclusively that the 
Ottoman armies were no match for the well -disciplined 
forces of Austria when led by competent generals. The 
Ottomans seem to have been completely cowed by the 
succession of defeats. Thenceforth they were always on 
the defensive in Europe, and never willingly acted the 
part of aggressors. It became the settled conviction of 
Europe not only that there was no longer any reason to 
fear invasion from the Turks, but that it was only a question 
of time when they would be driven back into Asia. 



The remainder of Sultan Achmet's reign, till his deposition 
in 1730, was a period of uninterrupted peace, so far as 
Europe was concerned . Damad Ibrahim retained his post as 
Grand Vizier for twelve years, during which he had the 
absolute confidence of the Sultan and practically ruled the 
Empire. His policy was distinctly favourable to peace. The 
only disturbance to it was on the frontier of Persia. That 
kingdom was in a state of commotion. Its feeble and 
incompetent ruler, Shah Hussein, was subverted by an 
Afghan adventurer, Mahmoud. Hussein's son, Tahmasp, 
appealed to the Czar of Russia and to the Sultan of Turkey 
for aid to recover his kingdom. Peter the Great offered 
his support in return for the cession of provinces in the 
Caspian and Black Sea, and sent an army to take posses- 
sion of them. This greatly alarmed the Porte, and it 
threatened war with Russia. Eventually, however, war was 
avoided. An agreement was arrived at, in 1723, between 
the two Powers for the partition between them of the 
greater part of North Persia. The Porte was ito have 
as its share the provinces of Georgia, Erivan, Tabriz, and 
Baku. Russia was to have Schirvan and the other provinces 
already promised to it by Tahmasp. Russia was prac- 
tically already in possession of its share. The Porte had 
to send an army to conquer the provinces which were to 
be its portion. It met with some opposition, but the cities 
of Erivan and Tabriz were captured. This brought the 
Porte into conflict with Tahmasp, but eventually an agree- 
ment was arrived at. Tahmasp was thrown over, and 
Mahmoud recognized the sovereignty of the Porte over 

the provinces referred to. It is not worth while enter- 



ing further into details of these transactions, for it will 
be seen that in a few years Persia, under Nadir Khan, 
acting on behalf of Tahmasp, recovered these provinces. 

After a reign of twenty -seven years a mutiny broke out 
against Achmet among the turbulent Janissaries, headed 
by Patrona, an Albanian soldier in their ranks. It 
speedily spread among the whole body of soldiers, and 
was supported by the dregs of the population of the city 
and by a band of criminals whom they had released from 
prison. It was probably promoted by enemies of the Grand 
Vizier. There was much want of vigour in dealing with 
the outbreak at its early stage. Subsequent events under 
Achmet 's successor showed that it was not really of a 
formidable character and that it might easily have been 
put down at its inception by strong measures against its 
ringleaders. It was allowed, however, to gather head and 
to spread. It was said that the mutiny was due to the 
unpopularity of the Sultan, his profuse expenditure, and 
the great pomp he maintained. This scarcely seems to 
afford a sufficient explanation. It has also been suggested 
that among other causes was the discontent of the soldiers 
on account of the long peace and the lack of opportunity 
for loot, and perhaps also the expectation of the customary 
large presents on the accession of a new Sultan. When 
the rebels got the upper hand they made no substantial 
proposals for a new policy. 

The Sultan, at an early stage, consulted his sister, the 
Sultana Khadidje, who advised him to keep his ministers 
close at hand, so that he might save his own life at their 
expense, if the rebels would be satisfied by a concession 
of this kind. He appears to have followed this advice. 
He lost his head in the crisis, and quailed before the 
mutineers. He entered into parleys with them. They 
demanded the surrender to them of three of the principal 
ministers. Achmet asked whether they wished these 
ministers to be handed to them alive or dead. They unani- 
mously agreed that they wished to have the dead bodies. 
The Sultan thereupon had the base and incredible meanness 
to order that his Grand Vizier — his lifelong friend, married 
to his daughter — ^the Capitan Pasha, and the Kiaya were to 
be strangled and their bodies given up to the mutineers. 
This did not content the Janissaries. They demanded the 
deposition of the Sultan. Achmet then offered to abdicate 


the throne on condition that his life and those of his 
children should be spared. They agreed to this. Achmet 
thereupon summoned before him his nephew, Mahmoud, 
whom he acclaimed as Padishah in place of himself and 
made obeisance. He then retired to the Cage from which 
Mahmoud had emerged, and there spent the remainder of 
his life in seclusion. 

Mahmoud, the son of Mustapha II, succeeded at the 
age of thirty -four. Achmet had not treated him with the 
same generosity that he had himself experienced from 
Mustapha II, but had insisted on his seclusion in the Cage. 
After spending so many of his best years in this way, 
Mahmoud was unfitted for active duties as head of the State. 
He had a turn for literature, and was a generous patron of 
public libraries and schools ; but as regards the direc- 
tion of affairs of the Empire he was wholly incompetent. 
He fell completely under the influence of the Kislaraga, 
the chief eunuch of his harem, Bashir by name, who acted 
as his secretary. Bashir had been an Abyssinian slave, 
and was bought for the Sultan's harem for 30 piastres. 
Little is known of the personality of this man, save that, 
from behind the curtain of the harem, he practically exer- 
cised supreme power for nearly thirty years, and died at 
a very advanced age, leaving a fortune of more than thirty 
millions of piastres and immense quantities of valuables. 
These included more than eight hundred watches, set with 
precious stones, which, it must be presumed, were the gifts 
of applicants for appointments. Bashir made and unmade 
Grand Viziers at his will, and if any one of them complained 
of Bashir's interference with his duties, that was the more 
reason for his instant dismissal. In Mahmoud's reign of 
twenty -four years there were sixteen Grand Viziers. In 
any case, it must be admitted that the success of Mahmoud's 
reign, such as it was, and the continuity of policy, were 
mainly due to this aged eunuch. 

In the first few weeks of the new Sultan's reign the 
supreme power of the State was practically in the hands 
of the rebel Janissaries, under the leadership of Patrona 
and Massuli, who Were soldiers in their ranks. These men 
soon made themselves intolerable by their insolence and 
bravado. Patrona installed his concubine in one of the 
Sultan's palaces, and when she gave birth to a child there, 
insisted on the Sultana Valide treating her with all the 


courtesies due to royalty. He insisted also on the appoint- 
ment as Hospodar of Moldavia of his personal friend, a 
Greek butcher named Yanaki, who had lent him money. 
The bolder men about the Sultan determined to get rid 
of these men. The Janissaries and other soldiers who had 
joined in the deposition of Achmet were brought to a 
better frame of mind by large distributions of money. 
They promised to obey their officers, on condition that no 
punishment should be awarded to them for their part in 
the rebellion. Patrona and Massuli and twenty -one of 
their leading adherents were then summoned to a meeting 
of ministers at the palace, and were massacred there in 
presence of the Sultan himself. Within three days seven 
thousand of the rebellious Janissaries were put to death. 

Pacification having thus been efifected at the capital, 
attention was turned to Persia, where, as has been pointed 
out, a partition treaty with Russia had assigned a large part 
of that kingdom to the Porte, but the possession of which 
had not yet been obtained. In the meantime a brigand 
chief, Nadir, later to become world-famous as the invader 
of India, had taken service under Tahmasp, the son of 
the dethroned Hussein. Nadir succeeded in driving the 
Afghans out of Persia and reinstating" Tahmasp as Shah. 
He proceeded, however, to usurp the power of that feeble 
monarch, and eventually got himself accepted as Shah in 
place of Tahmasp'. He declared war against the Turks in 
1733-5 aJ^d, after defeating them in several engagements, 
compelled them to sue for terms of peace. The Porte was 
the more ready to accede to terms as war with Russia was 
imminent. A treaty of peace was therefore agreed to with 
Nadir in 1735, under which all the provinces which were 
the subject of the partition treaty with Russia were restored 
to Persia. Russia also, in prospect of war with Turkey, 
came to terms with Nadir, and surrendered nearly all the 
territory which had been acquired under the partition treaty 
with Turkey. 

Peter the Great had died in 1727, and in 1730 was 
succeeded by the Empress Anne, a clever and ambitious 
woman. She was incited to war with Turkey by Marshal 
Munnich, the ablest general whom Russia so far had pro- 
duced. He promised to drive the Turks out of Europe. At 
Constantinople the eunuch Bashir was in favour of a policy 
of peace. He was over seventy years of age and wished 


to end his days in repose. He resisted as far as he could 
every attempt to draw the Sultan into war. The French 
Ambassador, under instructions from his Government, was 
most anxious to embroil Turkey with Austria. The two 
maritime Powers, however — Great Britain and Holland — 
pulled in the opposite direction, and peace was maintained 
as long as possible. But when, in 1735, the Russians, 
though nominally at peace with Turkey, captured two 
fortresses in the neighbourhood of Azofif and threatened 
that most important outpost of the Empire, the Porte 
declared war. A Russian army of fifty-four thousand men, 
under command of Marshal Munnich, then invaded the 
Crimea. They stormed and broke through the fortified 
lines of Perekop at the isthmus of that name, joining the 
Crimea to the mainland, hitherto thought to be impreg- 
nable. They captured the city of Perekop, and then over- 
ran the whole of the Crimea, devastating it and massacring 
its inhabitants by thousands. The Russian army, however, 
suffered greatly from exhaustion and disease in the cam- 
paigti, and it eventually withdrew from the Crimea before 
the winter. Another Russian force, under General Leontiew, 
captured Kilburn, and a third, undet General Lascy, an 
Irishman by birth, attacked and captured the city of Azoff. 

Meanwhile the Russian diplomatists discovered that the 
Emperor of Austria, Charles VI, was quite as anxious as 
the Czarina Anne to possess himself of Turkish provinces, 
and was ready to enter into a coalition for the purpose. 
In the winter of 1736-7 a secret treaty for this purpose 
was entered into between the two potentates. But as it 
was not thought expedient by the Austrians to commence 
their attack until all their preparations for it were com- 
pleted, a pretence was made of negotiations with the Porte, 
who had made overtures of peace to the Russians. For 
this purpose a Congress was held at Nimirof early in 1737. 
Later it became known that the negotiations on the part 
of the two allied Empires were illusory, and that there 
never was any intention to come to terms. The Porte, 
on its part, was extremely anxious for peace, and was 
ready to make large concessions, but the terms suggested 
on behalf of Russia were so extortionate that it was quite 
impossible for the Sultan and his ministers to entertain 
them. The Russians demanded the cession of the 
Crimea, the independence of Wallachia and Moldavia 


under a native prince, subject to the supremacy of 
Russia, the opening of the Black Sea and access to 
it through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles to Russian 
vessels of war, and the payment of fourteen millions 
of roubles. Austria, on its part, demanded the cession 
of the whole of Bosnia and Serbia. Such terms could only 
be assented to by the Porte after complete and disastrous 
defeat. They were indignantly rejected, and, much 
against the wish of the Porte, the Congress came to an 
end, and the Sultan was forced to take up arms in defence 
of his Empire. 

A Russian army of seventy thousand men, under Marshal 
Munnich, opened the campaign of 1737 by an attack on 
Oczakoff, the most important of the Ottoman fortresses 
on the northern shores of the Black Sea, and General 
Lascy, with forty thousand men, again invaded the Crimea. 
Oczakoff was vigorously defended by twenty thousand 
Turks. After some days of siege the principal powder 
magazine in the fortress blew up, causing enormous destruc- 
tion and loss of life. The Turkish general, dismayed by 
this, capitulated on favourable terms. But this did not 
prevent the massacre of the greater part of the garrison, 
and only three thousand of them survived . The losses of 
the Russians, chiefly by disease, were also very great, and 
nothing more wlas done by Munnich in this year's cam- 
paign. Meanwhile Lascy in the Crimea had repeated the 
operation of Munnich of the previous year, and eventually 
retreated from it. 

The Austrians, on their part, invaded Bosnia and Serbia 
with two armies. The principal one, under General 
Seckendorf, attacked and captured Nisch and, later, Widdin. 
But this exhausted their efforts for the year, and most of 
their army perished from disease in the marshes of the 
Danube . 

The campaign of 1738 was little more decisive. The 
Ottomans, with revived courage, took the offensive, and, 
advancing into Hungary, under Grand Vizier Yegen 
Mohammed, captured Semendria and Orsova. The 
Austrians fell back on Belgrade. General Lascy again, 
for a third time, invaded the Crimea, but the country had 
been so devastated by the two previous invasions that he 
could find no means there of feeding his army, and he 
was soon compelled to withdraw. In the winter great 


efforts were made by the Porte to arrive at terms of 
peace, and it was willing to make great sacrifices. But 
Marshal Munnich vehemently opposed all peace proposals 
at the Russian Court. He was still inflamed with the 
desire to invade Turkey and to capture Constantinople. 
At his instance emissaries were sent into the European 
provinces of the Ottoman Empire to incite the Christian 
rayas to rise in arms against their masters and oppressors 
—the first instance of the kind. 

On the opening of the campaign of 1739 Munnich led 
his army through Podolia, a province then belonging to 
Poland, whose neutrality he violated. He spread desola- 
tion along his march, as though he were passing through 
an enemy's country. He crossed the frontier of Moldavia 
and defeated a Turkish army at Khoczim, and then advanced 
to Jassy, the capital of the province, and captured it. 

Meanwhile the Austrians renewed their attack on Serbia 
and Bosnia under two new generals, Wallis and Niepperg. 
An army of fifty -six thousand Austrians issued from Peter - 
wardein and marched southwards, apparently in total 
ignorance of the strength of the Turkish army which was 
advancing to meet them. By great efforts the Porte had 
raised and equipped an army of two hundred thousand 
men, under the Grand Vizier Elhadji Mohammed. It 
met the Austrian army at Krotzka, half-way between 
Semendria and Peterwardein . The Austrians were de- 
feated, as was to be expected, in view of the enormous 
disparity of the two armies. They fell back again on 
Belgrade. The Ottomans followed up their victory and 
commenced a bombardment of Belgrade. 

Nothing could exceed the imbecility and infatuation of 
the Austrian generals, Wallis and Niepperg. They were 
now as anxious to make peace as they had been boastful 
and bellicose at the commencement of the campaign. The 
French Ambassador, Villeneuve, was with the Turkish 
army. His mediation was accepted by the Austrians, and 
terms of peace were agreed to, without consultation with 
the Russian generals. Belgrade and all the parts of Serbia 
and Bosnia which had been ceded to Austria by the treaty 
of Passarowitch and a great part of Wallachia were restored 
to the Ottoman Empire. The victory of the Ottomans 
at Krotzka and, still more, the treaty of Belgrade which 
foUowfed, caused dismay and indignation to the victorious 



Russians in Moldavia. It was obviously impossible for 
their army at Jassy to make any further advance into 
Turkey, or even to hold its own in Moldavia, when an 
Ottoman army of two hundred thousand, fresh from victory 
over the Austrians, was on their flank on the Danube. 
Munnich's grandiose scheme for the capture of Constan- 
tinople was extinguished. It became necessary for the 
Czarina to follow the example of the Austrians and ito 
make peace with the Turks. Terms were ultimately 
agreed to, under which the Russian conquests in Moldavia 
and the Crimea and the city of Oczakoff were given up. 
Russia retained only a narrow strip of land on the shores 
of the Black Sea. The city of Azoff was to be demolished 
and its territory was to form a belt of bbrderland, unculti- 
vated and desert, between the two Empires. The Russians 
were prohibited from maintaining a fleet either in the Black 
Sea or the Sea of Azofl". 

The two treaties, as a result of the campaign of 1739, 
were a triumph for Turkey. They were more due to the 
imbecility and incapacity of the Austrian generals than to 
the valour of the Ottomans, for it was no great feat of 
arms for two hundred thousand Turks to defeat fifty -seven 
thousand Austrians at the battle of Krotzka. But the 
strategy of the Porte in concentrating their main force 
against the Austrians on the Danube, while making little 
resistance to the Russians in Moldavia, was fully justified. 




The campaign, and the resulting treaty of Belgrade, saved 
the Ottoman Empire from further shrinkage for many years. 
There followed a long period of peace. This was due not 
merely to the fact that the Porte pursued a policy of 
peace, but because the two great Powers in Europe, Russia 
and Austria, who were bent on the dismemberment of 
Turkey, were not in a condition to prosecute their aims, 
and were not able to enter into any combination for thie 
purpose. In 1740 the Empieror Charles VI died. This 
event led to a scramble among the neighbouring Powers 
for his inheritance, and to the war known as that of the 
Austrian Succession, which was brought to an end by the 
Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. This was followed 
later again by another war, known as the Seven Years 
War, which was concluded in 1763. In neither of these 
great wars did the Porte take any part, and it is to its credit 
that it did not take advantage of them to attempt the 
recovery from Austria of any of its lost dominions in 
Hungary. Till war broke out with Russia in 1768 there 
was profound peace. 

Sultan Mahmoud died in 1754 and was succeeded by his 
brother, Othman II, who reigned for three years only. He 
was deformed— a hunchback. He does not appear to have 
made any change in the foreign policy of his government. 
In his three years of reign there were six Grand Viziers, and 
it seems probable that the real power of the State was exer- 
cised by the successor to the Kislaraga Bashir, from behind 
the curtain of the harem. 

Mustapha III succeeded his brother at the age of fifty. 
He had spent his life up to this time in seclusion, in the; 


Cage of the Seraglio, cut off from all contact with, or even 
knowledge of, public affairs. For the first six years of 
his reign he left matters very much in the hands of his 
Grand Vizier, Raghab Pasha, the last of the many who had 
fiUed this post under Mahmoud. Raghab proved to be 
a most wise and competent statesman, not far behind Sokolli 
and the Kiuprilis, and^ hke them, devoted to a policy of 

After the death of Raghab in 1763 Mustapha gradually 
took into his own hands the reins of government. Though 
well-intentioned and with a sense of public duty, he was 
feeble, hasty, and impatient, and was wanting in the most 
essential faculty of a ruler, that of selecting competent 
men as generals and administrators. He abandoned thq 
policy of peace and allowed himself to be drawn into war, 
with the most unfortunate results to his Empire. It was 
his misfortune that his reign coincided with those of two 
such able and unscrupulous neighbouring potentates as 
Catherine II of Russia and Frederick the Great of Prussia. 

The Empress Catherine was invested with supreme power 
in Russia in the year 1762, in place of her woirthless 
husband, after a military revolt. At her instance, Russia 
embarked on a policy of aggrandizement against both 
Poland and Turkey. Frederick the Great also, who had 
very recently favoured an alliance with the Porte with the 
object of checking the advance of Russia, now reversed his 
policy. In 1764 he made a treaty fwith the Russian Empress 
reciprocally guaranteeing their possessions, and promising 
assistance to one another, if the territories of either ,of 
them were invaded. But if France were to attack Prussia, 
or Turkey to attack Russia, assistance was to be given in 
money. Very soon after this an agreement was arrived 
at between these two Powers for the dismemberment of 
Poland and the partition between them of part of its terri- 
tory. The Empress of Austria, Maria Theresa, also, though 
most unwillingly, became a partner in this scheme. The 
Porte was much opposed to this Polish policy of the three 
conspirators. It protested strongly but in vain against the 
occupation of Poland by Russian and Prussian troops and 
against all the infamous proceedings which led to the first 
partition of Poland. The Russian Government made no 
effort to avert war. On the contrary, it showed by many 
actions a deliberate intention to drive the Turks into war. 


It fomented and encouraged rebellion against the Sultan 
in the Crimea, the Morea, Montenegro, and Georgia. It 
violated the neutrality of Turkey by pursuing Polish refugees 
across the frontier of Bessarabia into territory belonging 
to the Khan of the Crimea, a vassal of the Sultan, and 
destroying there the towtn of Balta. 

At a Divan held at Constantinople in October 1768 it 
was decided that Russia^ by its proceedings against Poland, 
had broken the treaty of Belgrade, and that war against 
her would be just and necessary. The only opposition to 
this came from the Grand Vizier, Mouhsinzade Pasha. He 
did not, indeed, object in principle, but he maintained that 
it was most unwise to declare - war until fuU. preparations 
had been made for it. He pointed out that the frontier 
fortresses were in a most unprepared state, and that as 
military operations could only be commenced by the Turks 
in the next spring, Russia would be placed in an advan- 
tageous position by an immediate declaration of war. For 
this advice, which the sequel fully justified, the Grand 
Vizier was dismissed from his office. In his place Emen 
Mahommed was appointed — a most incompetent man, know- 
ing nothing about military matters, by his own admission. 
As a result of this premature declaration of war, Russia 
had full notice, and entered on the campaign of 1769 in 
Moldavia before the Porte was ready to send an army to 
defend that province. The Empress put into the field three 
armies. The principal one, under command of Prince 
Galitzin, invaded Moldavia and laid siege to Khoczim. It 
was not tin May 1769 that the Grand Vizier was in a 
position to issue from his camp at Babatagli and march to 
Isakdji, near Ismail. He there summoned his generals to 
a council of war and opened the proceedings by an astound- 
ing admission of incompetence. Asking for their opinion 
as to what direction his army should be led, he said, ** I 
have no experience of war. It is for you to determine what 
operation shall be undertaken and what are the most favour- 
able chances for the army and the Subhme Porte. Speak 
without hesitation and enhghten me by your counsel." 

The generals were struck dumb with astonishment at 
this confession of ignorance and impotence. Eventually a 
discussion arose. There was great difference of opinion. 
As a result, the only decision arrived at was to cross the 
Danube into Moldavia, and then proceed as circumstances 


might suggest. In fact, there was no definite plan of 
campaign. The army, in accordance with this, crossed the 
Danube. It was then decided to march to the River Pruth. 
It reached a point about halfway between Khoczim and 
Jassy. But already it suffered greatly from want of food, 
for which no preparations had been made. The soldiers 
also were harassed by swarms of mosquitoes in the marshes 
of the Danube and the Pruth. It was unable to prevent 
the capture of Khoczim by the Russians. It was ultimately 
forced to retreat before coming into serious contact with 
the enemy, and it found its way back to the Danube ; and 
thus concluded the campaign of 1769. 

The Russians did little in the early part of 1770. Prince 
Gahtzin was almost as imbecile and incompetent as the 
Grand Vizier. The Empress recalled him and appointed 
in his place General Romanzoff, a most able and determined 
soldier. The Sultan, on his part, recalled Emen Pasha and 
gave orders for his execution. 

Meanwhile, the Empress Catherine was engaged in 
carrying out another part of her * Oriental project,' as 
it was called. She had sent numerous emissaries disguised 
as priests to various parts of Greece with the object of 
stirring up rebellion against the Sultan. Under the behef 
that a general rising would take place, she sent a great 
fleet from the Baltic to the Mediterranean for the purpose 
of giving support to the insurgents. It consisted of twelve 
ships of the line, twelve frigates, and numerous transports 
conveying a military force. The expedition was under 
the supreme command of Alexis Orloff, the brother of her 
then lover, who had led the military revolt which placed 
her on the throne. He had expectations that a throne 
would be found for himself at the expense of the Turks. 
The fleet was under virtual, though not nominal, command 
of an Englishman, Admiral Elphinstone, who was supported 
by numerous other British officers. It was said that every 
vessel in the fleet had one of these officers on board. This 
must have been with the cognizance and approval of the 
British Government, which at that time favoured the ag- 
grandizement of Russia. This fleet left Cronstadt at the 
end of 1769, and arrived off the coast of the Morea in 
February 1770. It was welcomed by a larg'e body of 
insurgent Greeks (Mairotes) and a Russian force was landed. 
The insurgents perpetrated the most atrocious acts of 


cruelty on the comparatively few Turks resident in the 

The ex -Grand Vizier, Mouhsinzade Pasha, now Governor 
of the Morea, showed great vigour. Collecting a force 
of Albanians, he succeeded in defeating the insurgent 
Greeks, fifteen thousand in number, and their Russian allies. 
The Russians were compelled to re -embark in their fleet. 
The Greeks who remained on shore were subjected to 
ruthless slaughter, as were also the inhabitants of the 
district. The whole countryside was devastated by the 
Albanians. The Russian fleet, after ineffectual attempts 
to capture Modon and Coron, sailed away. It came in 
contact, off the island of Scios, with the Ottoman fleet, not 
very unequal in number and size of vessels. A naval 
battle took place on July 7, 1770, in which the Turks were 
worsted. The defeat would have been the more serious 
if it had not been for the extraordinary bravery of one of 
their captains, Hassan of Algiers, who had gained ex- 
perience as a corsair. Laying his vessel alongside of that 
of the Russian admiral, he fought with the utmost despera- 
tion till both vessels were blown up. 

The defeated fleet sought refuge in the small harbour of 
Tchesme, where it was blockaded by Admiral Elphinstone. 
The British officers devised a scheme for destroying the 
Turkish fleet. Lieutenant Dugdale volunteered to pilot a 
fire-ship against them. Before coming to close quarters 
the Russian sailors deserted the vessel, and Dugdale alone 
remained on board. He steered the vessel against a 
Turkish ship and set fire to it. The fire spread to the 
other vessels, closely packed in the harbour, and the whole 
of the Ottoman fleet was burnt and destroyed with the 
exception of a single frigate. A more gallant and successful 
attack has never been recorded in the annals of naval 

Elphinstone, who had fortunately escaped death— as did 
also Hassan the Algerian, when their warships were blown 
up in the recent naval battle — then advised that the Russian 
fleet should sail without delay to the Dardanelles and force 
its way through the Straits to the Sea of Marmora and 
Constantinople. But Orloff hesitated and delayed, with 
the result that the Turks, getting wind of the intention, 
hastily erected four batteries at the Dardanelles, two on 
either side of it, crossing their fire. These were sufficient 


to make it impossible for the Russian fleet to force its 
way through the Straits. 

Orlofif and the Russian fleet then proceeded to the island 
of Lemnos, where it landed troops and besieged the chief 
fortress. It was evidently hoped to secure a base for 
the fleet in the yEgean Sea. After sixty days of siege the 
garrison gave in, and terms of capitulation were agreed upon 
with Orloff. In the meantime, however, Hassan had per- 
suaded the Porte to allow him to make a desperate effort 
to save Lemnos. He enlisted four thousand ruffians at 
Constantinople for this purpose. When it was pointed out 
what a hazardous enterprise it was, the reply was that it 
mattered little whether it was successful or not. If success- 
ful, Lemnos would be saved ; if unsuccessful, Constantinople 
would be rid for ever of four thousand of its grea/tesit 
blackguards. Hassan landed unexpectedly in Lemnos, and, 
declining to recognize the capitulation, attacked the Russians 
and defeated them, and compelled them to take to their 
ships again. 

Hassan, after this successful exploit, was made Capitan 
Pasha of the Ottoman navy. He managed to collect together 
another fleet, and engaged the Russian fleet again off 
Mondreso. Both fleets claimed victory, but it would seem 
that the Russians had the worst of it, for they sheered off 
and left these waters. When next heard of, the Russian 
fleet was engaged in giving support to AH Bey, the head of 
the Mamelukes of Egypt, who had risen in rebellion against 
the Turkish pasha there, and who was now invading Syria. 
Orloff landed four hundred soldiers in Syria in support of 
this rebel. But Ali Bey soon found himself in difficulties. 
An outbreak took place in his own army against him, 
fomented by his brother-in-law. Ali Bey was defeated and 
put to death, and the four hundred Russians were slain in 
battle. The Porte for a time recovered its hold on 

The story of Orloff's expedition has been told as it is 
a good illustration of the use of a naval force which can 
command the sea in a war of this kind, and of its inabili;ty 
to undertake operations on land, or to force its way against 
land batteries, unless supported by an adequate army. 
Orloff 's fleet remained in the east of the Mediterranean till 
the close of the war in 1773, but it did not effect anything 
of importance. 


Reverting to the military operations on the Danube, 
the autumn campaign of 1770 was very unfavourable to 
the Ottoman cause. Khalil Pasha, who was now in com- 
mand, proved himself to be no more competent than his 
predecessor. Romanzoff, in command of the Russian army, 
overran the whole of Moldavia. Khalil led thirty thousand 
efficient soldiers and a host of Tartar irregulars against 
him. The two armies came in contact at Karkal, where 
Khalil entrenched himself in front of the Russians, while his 
Tartars ravaged the country behind them and threatened 
their communications. Romanzoff then stormed the Turkish 
line. The Turks fled in panic. Their camp and guns and 
immense stores fell into the hands of the Russians. The 
surviving Turks recrossed the Danube. At the close of 
the campaign of 1770 all the Turkish fortresses north of 
the Danube were in the hands of the Russians. The Grand 
Vizier's army was practically destroyed. Only two thousand 
men were left to him under arms. 

In the following year, 1771, still greater disasters 
attended the Turks. Prince Dolgorouki, at the head of 
eighty thousand Russians and sixty thousand irregular Tar- 
tars, invaded the Crimea after storming successfully the lines 
of Perekop. The whole province was overrun. Kertch 
and Yenikale were captured. Wallachia and Moldavia 
successively fell into the hands of the Russians. Khoczim 
and Jassy were captured. The only gleams of success to the 
Turks in this campaign were the recovery of Giurgievo 
on the Danube and the successful defence of Oczakoff and 
Kilburn on the shores of the Black Sea. In the Caucasus 
the Russians were also successful and drove the Turks from 
Georgia and Mingrelia. 

These repeated successes of the Russians began to cause 
alarm to Austria and Prussia, who by no means wished 
for the undue aggrandizement of their neighbour. They 
therefore attempted negotiations with Russia for iriediation 
on behalf of the Ottoman Empire. But the Empress 
Catherine obstinately resisted anything in the way of 
interference by other Powers, and made it known to the 
Sultan that terms of peace must be settled with herself 
alone. In his desperation the Sultan proposed to Austria 
a joint partition of Poland as a bribe for assistance against 
Russia, oblivious of the fact that be had entered upon war 
with Russia on behalf of Poland. The offer was decHned 


by the Emperor, not because he had any objection to a 
scheme of plunder, but because he did not consider the 
Porte to be in a position to become an effective partner in 
such a scheme. As a ma,tter of fact, Austria, Russia, and 
Prussia were continually negotiating schemes for the dis- 
memberment either of Poland or Turkey, as might be most 
convenient to them. 

At the end of the campaign of 1771 an armistice was 
agreed to between Russia and the Porte, and the greater part 
of the following year was occupied in discussing terms of 
peace at a conference or congress at Bucharest. An ultima- 
tum was eventually presented by Russia, embodying terms of 
what might seem to be a very moderate character, in view 
of the great success of her armies and the extent of territories 
which they had practically conquered. The Sultan himself 
and his Grand Vizier and principal ministers and generals 
were in favour of accepting the terms as offered, but the 
Mufti and the whole body of the ulemas were vehemently 
opposed to them. The Divan therefore rejected them 
and war was renewied. As these terms did not sub- 
stantially differ from those which were accepted two 
years later, it is not worth while at this stage to explain 

Meanwhile there had been for more than a year a sus- 
pension of hostilities, and a breathing time had been afforded 
to the Porte, during which strenuous efforts were made for 
another campaign. At the end of 1772, Mouhsinzade 
Pasha, who had so distinguished himself in the defence 
of the Morea, was again appointed Grand Vizier. He 
infused new vigour into the army. In the spring of I773> 
when the negotiations at Bucharest were brought to a con- 
clusion, hostilities were recommenced. The campaign in 
Europe, in this year, was confined within the quadrilateral 
formed by the fortresses in Sihstria and Rustchuk on the 
Danube, the city of Varna on the Black Sea, and the great 
fortress of Schumla to the north of the Balkan range. 
There were several engagements between divisions of the 
two armies in this district, in which the Turks were generally 
worsted, but these victories were not of much avail to the 
Russians so long as the three great fortresses of Silistria, 
Varna, and Schumla remained in the hands of the 

The two main features of the campaign were the siiccess- 


ful defences by the Turks of Silistria and Varna against 
overwhelming forces of Russians. General Romanzoff 
crossed the Danube early in the year near Silistria. He 
defeated a Turkish division and compielled it to retreat to 
that fortress, where it added to its garrison. Romanzoff then 
laid siege to it. His army stormed the outer defencies 
with the utmost vigour and succeeded in forcing them. 
But their difficulties only then commenced. The Turks, 
under command of Osman Pasha, maintained an heroic 
resistance. The whole male population turned out in aid 
of the army. They fought the advance of the Russians 
street by street. In the end the Russians were compelled 
to retreat, after the loss of eight thousand men. Later, 
Romanzoff inflicted a severe defeat on the Turks at Korason. 
This opened the way to Varna. But here again a success- 
ful defence was offered by the Turkish garrison, supported 
by the seamen of the Ottoman fleet in the Black wSea. 
This was the closing scene of the campaign of 1773. Sultan 
Mustapha died towards the close of this year, and was 
succeeded by his brother, Abdul Hamid, who had been 
secluded in the Cage for forty -eight years. As was to 
be expected, he showed no capacity for the position to 
which he was now at last called. He was, however, favour- 
able to peace, as was also Mouhsinzade, who was maintained 
as Grand Vizier. 

At the commencement of the campaign of 1774 the 
Grand Vizier issued from his camp at Schumla with twenty - 
five thousand men, with the intention of taking the offensive 
and attacking the Russians at Hirsova, on the Danube. 
The Russian forces in that district were under command of 
Suwarrow, who now and later was to show himself the 
greatest general Russia had as yet produced. He did not 
wait to be attacked by the Turks. He advanced from 
Hirsova and met the Grand Vizier's army at Kostlidji, 
where he gained an overwhelming' victory. The Turkish 
camp and all its guns and stores were captured. The 
defeated army dispersed, and the Grand Vizier found himself 
with only eight thousand men to defend Schumla. The 
Russians manoeuvred so as to cut off the communications of 
Schumla with the capital. Mouhsinzade thereupon asked 
for an armistice. This was refused by the Russians, but 
they were willing to discuss terms of peace. The assent 
of the Porte was obtained by the Grar^d Vizier, and or^ 


July I 6, 1774, after seven hours only of discussion between 
plenipotentiaries at the village of Kainardji, a treaty of 
peace was agireed to. 

The terms were almost identical with those which had 
been rejected by the Porte two years before, after the con- 
ference at Bucharest. In view' of the fact that the Ottoman 
armies had been everywhere defeated during the war, and 
that the Russians had obtained actual possession of the 
Crimea, Wallachia, Moldavia, and Bessarabia in Europe, 
and of Georgia and Mingrelia in the Caucasus, the terms 
were distinctly moderate. The Empress must have been 
very desirous of peace. There was a serious rebellion of 
her southern provinces. Affairs in Poland were causing 
her great anxiety. Her losses in the war with Turkey 
had been very great, though her victories were many. It 
was all -important to her that her hands should be free. 
These were doubtless adequate reasons for moderation in 
her terms to Turkey. 

Under this treaty Russia gave up nearly all the Turkish 
territory occupied by her armies. The Crimea was not, 
indeed, restored to the Turks. The independence of the 
Tartars there and in Bessarabia up to the frontier of Poland 
was recognized under a native prince, in whose election 
Russia and Turkey were forbidden to interfere. Neither 
Power was thenceforth to ** intervene in the domestic, 
political, civil, and internal affairs of this new State." There 
was, however, a grave reservation pregnant of future 
aggrandizement to Russia. She was to retain the fortresses 
of Kertch, Yenikale, and the cities of Azoff and Kilburn. 
These would necessarily give access to and virtual com- 
mand over the Crimea to Russia at any future time. For 
the present, however, the Crimea, though lost to the Turks, 
was not acquired by Russia. It is probable that the ulemas 
would not have assented to the transfer of a Moslem 
province to a Christian Power, and that the war would 
have been continued if Russia had insisted on this. 
Oczakoff, on the opposite side of the Dnieper to Kilburn, 
was retained by the Porte. But the two Karbartas on the 
shores of the Euxine, though inhabited by Moslems, were 
retained by Russia. With these exceptions, all the Ottoman 
territories in the hands of Russia as a result of the war— 
Wallachia, Moldavia, Bessarabia, Georgia, and Mingrelia— 
were restored to the Sultan. la thte case of Wallachia 


and Moldavia, this retrocession was subject to the con- 
dition that free exercise of the Christian religion was to 
be secured to their population, and that there was to be 
humane and generous government there for the future. 
The right of remonstrance in these respects was secured 
to the ministers of Russia at Constantinople on behalf of 
these provinces. 

Another most important clause, full of danger for the 
future to the Ottoman Empire, related to its Christian sub- 
jects. " The Sublime Porte," it ran, " promises to protect 
constantly the Christian religion and churches and allow 
the ministers of Russia at Constantinople to make represen- 
tation on their behalf." 

This most important provision gave to Russia a preferen- 
tial right of protection of the Christian rayas not conceded 
to any other Christian Power. Provision also was ma4e 
for the full access of Russian subjects to the holy city of 
Jerusalem. Free navigation was provided for Russian ships 
on the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, but nothing was 
said as to a right of access through the Dardanelles and 
Bosphorus. There was no mention of Poland in the treaty, 
though it had been the original cause of the war. Two 
secret clauses provided for the payment by the Porte of 
four millions of roubles within three years and for the with- 
drawal of the Russian fleet from the Archipelago. 

The importance of this treaty, moderate though it was 
in many of its terms, has always been recognized by his- 
torians as the starting-point for further and greater dis- 
memberments of the Turkish Empire. The treaty of Car- 
lowitz had secured the deliverance of the Christian popu- 
lation of Hungary from Ottoman rule. But this treaty now, 
for the first time, tore from the Empine a Moslem province 
and gave to Russia a right of intervention on behalf of 
all the Christian population — ^^an immense innovation, 
humiliating to the Turks, and fraught with the gravest 
peril to their Empire in the future. 

There can be no doubt that the Grand Vizier was fully 
authorized by the Porte to agree to the terms of this treaty. 
He was, however, recalled and deposed immediately after 
its signature, and he died from the effects of poison on his 
way to Constantinople. It was probably thought by the 
ministers of the Sultan that Mouhsinzade, if called to account 
for concluding so humiliating' a treaty, would be able to 


show their full responsibility for it. It remains only to 
state that the Russian plenipotentiaries at Kainardji delayed 
the signature of the treaty for four days in order that it 
might synchronize with the anniversary of the treaty of the 
Pruth, which had been the cause of so much humiliation to 




Eighteen years elapsed between the peace of Kainardji, 
1774, and the treaty of Jassy, 1792, the next conspicuous 
event in the downward course of the Ottoman Empire. 
The first thirteen of these years were a period of external 
peace to the Empire under the rule of Abdul Hamid I. 
The country had been completely exhausted by the late 
war with Russia, and the Sultan — or, rather, his ministers, 
for he appears to have been little competent himself to 
carry on the government — were strongly in favour of main- 
taining peace, and did so in spite of great provocation 
from the Empress Catherine. That able and unscrupulous 
woman pursued her designs for the complete subjection of 
the Crimea with relentless resolution and activity. It was an 
essential condition of the peace of Kainardji that the Crimea 
was to be an independent State under the rule of a native 
Tartar prince. The breach of it, by the assumption of 
sovereignty, direct or indirect, on the part of Russia, would 
undoubtedly be a just cause of war to the Turks. The 
Porte, however, was not in a position to take up a 
challenge of the Empress. The knowledge of this was 
doubtless the main motive for her proceedings during the 
next few years. 

The steps by which Catherine attained her object bore 
a striking resemblance to those by which other annexa- 
tions were carried into effect by Russia, and might well 
have been predicted. A member of the princely Tartar 
family of Gherai, Dewlet, was elected by the Tartars of 
the Crimea as their Khan. The agents of Russia thereupon 
supported the claims of a rival Gherai, Schahin. They 

fomented disaffection and revolt against Dewlet. While 



sedulously disclaiming any project of annexation, Catherine 
then sent an army into the peninsula with the ostensible 
purpose of restoring order. It compelled the abdication 
of Dewlet and the election of her nominee, Schahin. This 
prince, raised to the throne by Russian arms, found it 
necessary to folloiw the advice of the Rujssian agent, and 
soon made himself most unpopular with his subjects. A 
revolt took place against him. He appealed to the Empress 
for assistance. A Russian army again appeared in the 
guise of pacificator. The Tartars who opposed were 
slaughtered or driven from the country. Schahin was com- 
pelled to resign his throne, and the Empress thereupon 
proclaimed the annexation of the Crimea, with professions 
of acting only for the benefit of its people and to save them 
from misgovernment . The wretched tool Schahin was im- 
prisoned for a time in Russia, and later was expelled the 
country into Turkey, where he was speedily put to death. 
The Porte was unable to undertake a war on behalf of the 
independence of the Tartars, and in 1784 a new treaty was 
made between the two Powers, recognizing the sovereignty 
of Russia over the Crimea and a district along the north 
of the Euxine inhabited by Tartars. 

Later, there were many indications of the intention of 
Catherine to exploit her wider project of driving the Turks 
from Europe. In 1779, when a second grandson was born 
to her, the name of Constantine was given to him. Greek 
women were provided for him as nurses, and he was taught 
the Greek language. Everything was done to stimulate 
the hope that there would be a revival of a Greek Empire 
at Constantinople, in substitution for that of the Ottomans. 

Meanwhile there was a succession of grave internal 
troubles in Turkey, fomented in part by emissaries from 
Russia. The brave old Hassan of Algiers, now Capitan 
Pasha, who had the complete confidence of the Sultan, 
was continually being called upon to put down revolts. 
Thus in 1 7 7 6 he defeated the Sheik Jahir, who had revolted 
in Syria. In 1778 he was engagied in expelling from 
the Morea the rebellious Albanians, who had been employed 
against Orloff in his invasion of that province, and who, 
after his defeat, had remained in the Morea, establishing 
themselves in a lawless ascendancy there, oppressing, 
plundering, and slaughtering Turks and Greeks alike with- 
out discrimination. Hassan succeeded in defeating and 


expelling these wild ruffians. Later, Hassan was employed 
in putting down a rebellion of the Mamelukes in Egypt. 
He led an army there, and succeeded in restoring the 
authority of the Sultan. In 1787 he was again recalled 
to Constantinople, on the imminence of war with Russia, 
and at the age of seventy -five was employed for &. time 
in command of the Turkish fleet in the Black Sea and 
later as commander-in-chief of the army. It will be seen 
that for the first time in his life his good fortune deserted 
him and that he met with serious defeats. 

It has already been shown that the Empress Catherine 
was very provocative in her policy and action to Turkey. 
In 1787 an agreement was arrived at between Catherine 
and Joseph II, Emperor of Austria, for common action 
against the Turks, and with the deliberate intention of 
driving them from Europe. A partition was to be made of 
their European provinces between the two Powers and a 
Greek Empire was to be set up at Constantinople. 

The Empress made a triumphal progress through the 
Crimea, under the auspices of her favourite and paramour, 
Prince Potemkin, to whose efforts its annexation had been 
mainly due. The Emperor Joseph met her on the way 
there at Kherson, and hatched with her a scheme of war 
with Turkey. A triumphal arch was erected, with the 
inscription, ** This is the way to Byzantium." Emissaries 
were sent to stir up rebellion in Wallachia and Moldavia. 
Claims were raised officially against Turkey for the 
province of Bessarabia and the fortress of Oczakoff, on 
the ground that they had formerly been part of the domains 
of the Khans of the Crimea. These claims greatly irritated 
the Turks. The few years of peace had renovated them. 
They were now ambitious of recovering the city of Kilburn, 
and even had hopes of regaining the Crimea. Popular 
feeling was aroused, and at the instance of the Divan, 
and without waiting to make preparations for the defence 
of the frontier fortresses, the Sultan declared war against 
Russia on August 15, 1787. 

A large force was then sent by the Porte to Oczakoff, the 
fortress on the embouchure of the Dniester, with the inten- 
tion of attacking KUburn on the opposite side. A fleet 
was sent, under Hassan, to co-operate with it, and to 
convey the army across the river to Kilburn. Unfortu- 
nately for the Turks, the Russian force at Kilburn was 



under the command of Suwarrow, a military genius of the 
first rank. Fie allowed the larger half of thb Turkish 
army to be conveyed across the river and then attacked it 
by land, while a flotilla of gunboats frc^m Nicholaif engaged 
the Turkish fleet. This strategy was completely success- 
ful. The Ottoman force of eight thousand men landed 
on the Kilbum side was overwhelmed and slaughtered. 
Nearly the whole of Hassan's fleet was destroyed, Th^ 
attack on Kilbum was completely defeated. 

Nothing more was effected by either of the two com- 
batants in 1787. At the beginning of the next year, 
1788, the Emperor of Austria, on February loth, declared 
war against Turkey without any provocation. He had been 
delayed fulfilling his agreement with Catherine by dis- 
turbances in his own dominions. He was now free to 
carry out his undertaking. The Turks, therefore, found 
themselves confronted by two formidable enemies. Fortu- 
nately for them, Russia was prevented putting forth its 
full strength in the south, in consequence of war hiaving 
broken out with Sweden. The Empress was unable on 
this account to carry out her engagement with the Emperor 
to send an army into Moldavia in support of that of the 
Austrians. Nor Was she able to send a fleet into the ^Egean 
Sea, as had been promised. But Joseph took command 
himself of an army of two hundred thousand men with 
which to attack the Turks. He soon proved himself to 
be the most incompetent of generals. The only defeat be 
was able to inflict was upon his own soldiers, under circum* 
stances unprecedented in war. 

The Turks, when they found that there was no dangef 
of any advance on the part of the Russians, sent a great 
army across the Danube, which encountered and defeated 
an Austrian army, under Wartersleben, at Mendia. Joseph 
then marched to relieve this defeated force and to protect 
Hungary. He took up a position with eighty thousand men 
at Slatina, within easy reach of the Grand Vizier*s army. 
At the last moment, when all the preparations had been 
made to attack the Ottomans, the Emperor took alarm. 
He abandoned his project of attack, and retreated in the 
direction of Temesvar. The retreat was begiin at mid- 
night. Great confusion took place. An alarm was spread 
that the Turks were close at hand and were about to 
attack. The wildest panic occurred. The Austrian artillery 


was driven at full speed in retreat. The infantry mistook 
them for the enemy. They formed themselves into 
small squares for defence, and begaii to fire wildly in ail 
directions. In the early morning, when the sun rose, it 
was discovered that these squares had been firing into one 
another, with the result that ten thousand men were hors 
de combat. The Turks now came up and made a real 
attack. They defeated the Austrians and captured a great 
part of their artillery and baggage. No other engagement 
took place in this direction in the course of this year. 
The Emperor lost thirty thousand men in his attempted 
manoeuvre and forty thousand by disease. He never again 
ventured to command an army. 

Little was attempted in 1788 by the Russians till August, 
when Potemkin found himself in a position to invest 
Oczakoff. The siege was protracted till December, when 
Suwarrow was called in to assist. Under his spirited advice, 
an assault was made on the fortress, and, in spite of 
enormous losses, the Russians overcame all opposition and 
entered the city. A frightful scene of carnage then 
occurred. The city was given over to the Russian soldiers. 
Of a population of forty thousand only a few hundreds 
escaped death, and twenty thousand of the garrison were 
slaughtered. In spite of this great loss, the campaign of 
1788 had not been altogether to the detriment of the 
Turks. Though they lost Oczakoff, and all hopes of re- 
covering Kilburn and the Crimea had vanished, they had 
successfully resisted Austria. Joseph's attack had ignomini- 
ously failed. ' \ 

The campaign of the following year was far more 
disastrous to the Turks. Early in 1789 Sultan Abdul 
Hamid died, and was succeeded by his nephew, Selim III, 
a young man of twenty -seven, of vigour and public spirit. 
He had not been subjected by his uncle, Abdul Hamid, to 
the debasing seclusion which had for so long been the 
fate of heirs to the throne. He had been allowed much 
freedom. His father, Mustapha, had left him a memoir, 
pointing out the dangers of the State, and advising ex- 
tensive reforms, and the young man had deeply studied 
this. He was fully conscious of the necessity for 
radical changes, and though he very wisely did not attempt 
to lead his troops in the field, he spared no effort to 
improve the condition of the army and to stim,ulate the 


warlike zeal of his subjects. He sent the immense accumu- 
lation of plate in his palace to the Mint, and he persuaded 
the ladies of the harem to give up their jewellery in aid 
of the treasury. He was ardently in favour of reforms in 
all directions. He deserved a better fate than was in 
store for him. It will be seen that his reign was one of 
most bitter reverses. 

Unfortunately for the Turks, ill -health prevented the 
Emperor Joseph from again taking the field in command 
of the Austrian army. He was replaced by Marshal 
Loudon — a. veteran of the Seven Years War, a Scotsman 
by race, who had risen from the ranks and had deservedly 
won great reputation. It was said of him that he " made 
war like a gentleman." He was noted for his quick 
decision on the field of battle, and though over seventy-five 
was still in full vigour. A new spirit was infused into 
the Austrian army. A part of it under Marshal Loudon 
invaded Bosnia and Serbia, where it met with b'rilliant 
success. In Bosnia it was stoutly resisted by the Moslem 
population. In Serbia it met with cordial co-operation 
of the rayas, who detested their Moslem oppressors. The 
greater part of these two provinces was occupied. Another 
Austrian army, under the Prince of Coburg, was directed 
to Moldavia to act in concert with the Russian ^rmy, 
under Suwarrow. The Sultan, on his part, appointed 
Hassan as Grand Vizier and commander-in-chief of the 
army. Hassan w'as not equal to the task of confronting such 
a general as Suwarrow. He advanced with a large army 
against Coburg, who was stationed at Fokshani, on the 
frontier of Moldavia. Coburg v/ould have been over- 
whelmed by the superior force of the Turks had it not 
been for the wonderful activity of Suwarrow, who marched 
sixty miles through a difficult and mountainous country in 
thirty -six hours to relieve the Austrians. Suwarrow, imme- 
diately on arrival, late in the afternoon, made preparations 
for attacking the Ottoman army. Two hours before day- 
light the next day he assaulted the fortified camp of the 
Turks. Never was a bold course more completely justified. 
The camp was carried by the Russians with the bayonet. 
The Turks lost all their artillery and immense stores. 
Another great army was sent by Selim and was also utterly 
defeated by Suwarrow on the River Rimnik in September 
of the same year. 


These two serious defeats caused panic at Constantinople. 
To allay this the Sultan, to his infinite discredit, gave 
orders for the execution of the brave old Hassan — ^the 
victor in so many battles, whose advice for the better 
training of the Janissaries had been cruelly neglected. But 
it was the habit of the Turks to attribute every defeat 
to the treason of the general and to put him to death, 
just as the Convention at Paris, during the revolutionary 
wars, sent to the guillotine the generals who failed — ^not, 
it must be admitted, without some result in stimulating 
others to better efforts. 

Farther to the west, Belgrade and Semendria were 
captured by the Austrians in this campaign of 1789. In 
the following year the tide of victory on the part of the 
Russians and Austrians was stayed by two events. The 
one was that the Emperor Joseph found it necessary, in 
consequence of outbreaks in almost every part of his own 
dominions, caused by his hasty and ill-considered measures 
of centralization, in defiance of all local customs, to hold 
his hand against the Turks, and withdraw his conquering 
armies in order to employ them in putting down revolution 
at home. His death occurred early in 1790. Leopold, 
who succeeded, a wise and sagacious ruler, the very opposite 
to Joseph, reversed the policy of his brother. He did 
not favour a Russian alliance against Turkey. 

Another cause of Austria withdrawing from the war was 
the entry into the field of politics in the east of Europe 
of England, Prussia, and Holland. These Powers had 
formed a close defensive alliance, and had already exer- 
cised great influence by joint action. They had extinguished 
French influence in Holland. They had intervened with 
good effect between Russia and Sweden and had brought 
about peace between them. They now proposed media- 
tion between Austria and Turkey, not without threats of 
stronger action. An armistice was agreed to between these 
Powers. The death of Joseph greatly facilitated an 
arrangement. Terms were agreed upon with the Turks, 
and were ultimately embodied in the treaty of Sistova, 
on the principle of the status quo before the war, 
under which all the territory which Austria had occupied 
in Bosnia, Serbia, and Wallachia, including the fortresses 
of Belgrade and Semendria, were given back to Turkey, 
with the exception of a small strip of laud in Croatia and 


the town of Old Orsova. The acquisitions by Austria 
were of very small importance and made but a poior 
return for the great effort put forth in the war. But the 
new Emperor, Leopold, did not think that Austria had any- 
thing to gain by the dismemberment of either Turkey or 
Poland. Had he lived, subsequent events might have turned 
out differently, and Poland, in all probability, would not 
have been victimized. 

The defection of Austria from the alliance with Russia 
against the Turks was a very serious matter for the 
Empress Catherine. It was balanced, however, in part, 
by peace with Sweden, which enabled her to use her whole 
force on land and sea against her remaining enemy. She 
still adhered to the project of driving the Turks from 
Europe, and reconstituting a Greek Empire at Constan- 
tinople. She sent numerous emissaries to Greece to 
persuade its people " to take up arms and co-operate with 
her in expelling the enemies of Christianity from the 
countries they had usurped, and in regaining for the 
Greeks their ancient liberty and independence." 

Early in 1790 she received a deputation at St. Peters- 
burg from some leading Greeks. They presented a 
petition to her. 

We have never [it said] asked for your treasure ; we do not ask for it 
now ; we only ask for powder and shot, which we cannot purchase, and to 
be led to battle. ... It is under your auspices that we hope to deliver 
from the hands of barbaric Moslems an Empire which they have usurped, 
to free the descendants of Athens and Lacedaemon from the tyrannous 
yoke of ignorant savages — a nation whose genius is not extinguished, 
which glows with the love of liberty, which the iron yoke of barbarism 
has not destroyed. 

The Empress, in reply, promised to give the assistance 
they asked for. They were then presented to the young 
Prince Constantine, who replied to them in the Greek 
language : ** Go, and let everything be done according 
to your wishes." 

The wealthier Greeks in the Levant liad already fitted 
out a squadron of thirteen frigates in support of their 
cause. These were now, by order of the Empress, sup- 
plied with guns at Trieste and were put under comrnand 
of a brave Greek admiral, Lambro Caviziani. This 
squadron, when fitted out, made its way to the iEgean Sea, 


where it made its base in the Isle of Scios. The Turkish 
fleet in those waters was at a low ebb. The best of the 
Turkish vessels were being employed in the Black Sea. 
But seven Algerine corsairs came to the assistance of the 
Porte, and, in concert with some Turkish ships, fought a 
naval battle with the Greek sqi^adron and sank the whole 
of its vessels. 

The Russian army on land was more fortunate. Their 
chief operation in 1790 was the capture of Ismail, a most 
important fortress on the northern afflu,ent of the Danube, 
about forty miles from the Black Sea. So long as this 
city was in the hands of the Tiurks an advance of an 
invading army from Bessarabia into Bulgaria was hardly 
possible. The fortress was defended by a very large 
garrison. Suwarrow was again put at the head of a corps 
d'armie by Potemkin, the commander-in-chief, with the 
laconic order, " You will capture Ismail, whatever may 
be the cost." Six days after his arrival before the 
fortress, Suwarrow ordered his troops to assault it. Speak- 
ing to them in his usual jocular manner, he said : '* My 
brothers, no quarter ; provisions are scarce." At a terrible 
cost of life the city was taken by storm. A scene of 
savage carnage ensued, unprecedented even in the experi- 
ence of Suwarrow. Thirty -four thousand Turks perished. 
Suwarrow admitted to a friend that he was moved to tears 
when the scene was over. But he was accustomed to shed 
these crocodile tears after horrors of this kind, when he 
had made no effort to mitigate them. When news of the 
achievement arrived at St. Petersburg, the Empress, at 
her levde, addressing the British Ambassador, Sir C. Whit- 
worth, said, with an ironic smile : "I hope that those who 
wish to drive me out of St. Petersburg will allow me to 
retire to Constantinople." 

Meanwhile the allied maritime Powers — England, Prussia, 
and Holland — having succeeded in their mediation between 
Austria and Turkey, and in restoring peace between them, 
on the basis of the status quo, were now engaged in 
efforts of the same kind as between Russia and Turkey. 
They offered mediation to the Empress Catherine in the 
course of 1790. In a reply to the Prussian King, she 
indignantly rejected intervention. ''The Empress," she 
said, " makes war and makes peace when she pleases. 
She will not permit any interference whatever in the 


management or government of her affairs." It was under • 
stood, however, that she was not disinclined to peace upon 
the terms that Oczakoff and the district between the Rivers 
Dniester and Bug, which were in her full possession, were 
to be retained by her, and that all other of her conquests 
were to be restored to Turkey. The allied Powers were 
unwilling to assent to this, and made preparations for an 
armed mediation to compel Russia to restore Oczakoff to 
Turkey . 

In the case of Great Britain, the proposed intervention 
on behalf of the Turks in support of their Empire was 
a new departure in pMDlicy. Its Government had been 
closely allied with that of Russia during the greater part 
of the eighteenth century. Its policy had been mainly 
determined by jealousy of France. It looked upon Russia 
as a counterpoise to that State. It had never raised any 
objection to the ambitious projects of Russia against 
Turkey. Lord Chatham, whose foreign policy had pre- 
vailed till now, had always held that it was not the 
interest of England to enter into a connection with the 
Turks. England had looked on with indifference in 1784, 
when the Empress Catherine had taken possession of the 
Crimea. Charles Fox was at that time Minister of Foreign 
Affairs in England, and he showed himself as much in 
favour of Russia as Chatham had been. " My system 
of foreign politics," he wrote, " is deeply rooted. Alliance 
with the northern Powers (including Russia) ever has 
been and ever will be the system of every lenlightened 
Englishman." It was an entirely new departure when the 
younger Pitt, in 1790, entered the lists in alliance with 
Prussia against Russia in order to restore and maintain 
the balance of power in the south-east of Europe in favour 
of Turkey. 

The British Government renewed its offer of mediation. 
Its Ambassador at St. Petersburg was instructed to inform 
the Empress that if she would accept a peace on the basis 
of the stains qua, England would use her influence to 
obtain from the Turks a formal renunciation of their claims 
to the Crimea under the guarantee of the allies. The 
Empress, in her reply through her minister, expressed her 
indignation at the unparalleled conduct of the allies in 
attempting to dictate in so arbitrary a manner to a sovereign 
perfectly independent, and in want of no assistance to 


procure the conditions which seemed to her best suited 
to satisfy her honour. Rather than diminish the glory of 
a long and illustrious reign, the Empress was ready to 
encounter any risk, and she would only accept the good 
offices of the King of England " inasmuch as they may 
lead to preserve for her the indemnification she requires 
of Oczakoff and its district." ^ 

The reply was important, for it showed that Russia was, 
at all events, willing to bring the war to an end and to 
forgo its intention of driving the Turks out of Europe, 
The fact was that, in spite of repeated victories, the Russian 
losses in killed and wounded, and still more by disease, 
were very serious. The Empress also had other troubles 
on her hands. The Polish question, in which she was 
more interested than in that of Turkey, was imminent. 
The Second Partition was decided on. It was necessary for 
her to have a free hand. In spite of this, she was 
determined not to yield possession of Oczakoff. 

Meanwhile the British and Prussian Governments were 
in consultation. They were agreed that they were bound 
to insist upon the surrender of Oczakoff and its district, 
and upon a peace based on the status quo before the 
war. It was contended that, as Austria and Sweden had 
both made peace on such terms, the allies could not with 
honour demand less for the Turks, and that Turkey would 
consider itself betrayed if the allies were willing to give 
up those districts. 

It was decided, therefore, by the allies to enforce by 
arms their mediation on the basis of the status quo. The 
British Government engaged to send a fleet of thirty-five 
vessels of the line into the Baltic, and Prussia to march 
an army into Livonia. It was agreed that neither Power 
would look for any territorial acquisition, but would 
only insist on greater security for the Porte in the 
Black Sea. 

In this view Mr. Pitt, on March 28, 1791, presented to 
the House of Commons a message from the King asking 
for the supply of means to augment the forces of the 
Crown. He based his justification, says Mr. Lecky, who 
has given a summary of Pitt's speech, mainly on the 
interests of Prussia and the obligation of Great Britain 
to defend her. 

* VVhitworth to Leeds, January 10, 1781 ; Record Office. 


Prussia [Pitt said], of all European Powers, is the one who would be 
the most useful ally of England, and the events that were taking place 
were very dangerous to her. The Turkish Empire is of great weight in 
the general scale of European Powers, and if that Empire is diminished or 
destroyed, or even rendered unstable or precarious, the situation of Prussia 
would be seriously affected. . . . Could any one imagine that the 
aggrandizement of Russia would not materially affect the disposition of 
other Powers — that it might not produce an alteration in Poland highly 
dangerous to Prussia ? ... If a powerful and ambitious neighbour 
were suffered to establish herself upon the very frontier of Prussia, what 
safety was there for Denmark, or what for Sweden when Prussia shall no 
longer be in a position to help them ? The safety of all Europe might 
afterwards be endangered. Whatever might be the result of the war in 
which the Turks were now unhappily engaged, if its results were to 
increase the power of Russia the effect would not be confined to the 
two Powers alone ; it would be felt by the rest of Europe. 

He asked for the means to equip a great fleet to b^ 
sent to the Baltic and a smaller one for the Black Sea. 

The proposal of Pitt for giving effect to this policy was 
violently opposed by Charles Fox in a speech which pro- 
duced a very great effect in the House of Commons and 
on the CQuntry. 

The insistence [he said] on the surrender by Russia of Oczakoff and its 
district was in the highest degree unjust and impoHtic. It was unjust 
because Russia had not been the aggressor in the war and because, in 
spite of her great successes, she had consented to concessions which 
displayed her signal moderation. It was impolitic, for the only result of 
an expensive and dangerous war would be to alienate, perhaps for ever, 
a most valuable ally, without obtaining any object in which England had 
a real interest. . . . Russia was the natural ally of England. What had 
England to gain by this policy ? In what way could English interests or 
English power be affected by the acquisition by Russia of a fortress on 
the Dniester and a strip of barren land along the northern shore of the 
Black Sea ? . . . The assertion that England was bound by the spirit of 
its defensive alliance with Prussia was in the highest degree dangerous 
and absurd. If defensive alliances were construed in such a way they 
would have all the evils of offensive alliances, and they would involve us in 
every quarrel in Europe. We bound ourselves only to furnish assistance 
to Prussia if she were attacked. She had not been attacked. She was at 
perfect peace. She was absolutely unmenaced. It was doubtful whether 
the new acquisition of Russia would under any circumstances be injurious 
to Prussia, and it was preposterous to maintain that it was the duty of 
England to prevent any other nations from acquiring any territory which 
might possibly in some future war be made use of against Prussia, 


Fox was supported by Burke in a powerful speech, in 
spite of their growing differences on the subject of the 
Revolution in France. 

Considering the Turkish Empire [he said] as any part of the balance of 
power in Europe was new. The Turks were essentially Asiatic people, 
who completely isolated themselves from European affairs. The minister 
and the poHcy which should give them any weight in Europe would 
deserve all the ban and curses of posterity. For his part, he confessed 
that he had seen with horror the beautiful countries that bordered on the 
Danube given back by the Emperor of Austria to devastation. Are we 
now going to vote the blood and treasure of our countrymen to enforce 
similar cruel and inhuman policy ? ... That so wise a man as Pitt 
should endeavour, on such slight and frivolous grounds, to commit this 
country to a policy of unhmited adventure, sacrificing the friendship of 
one of our oldest aUies and casting to the winds the foreign poHcy of his 
own father, was the most extraordinary event that had taken place in 
Parliament since he had sat within its walls. 

Pitt's motion was carried, but by many votes short of 
his usual party majority. Two other debates took place on 
the subject. Though Pitt maintained his majority, it was 
evident that the opinion of the House of Commons, and still 
more of the country, was opposed to going to war with 
Russia on behalf of Turkey. Pitt very wisely decided to 
abandon his policy of war. He withdrew his proposal in 
the House of Commons. The Foreign Minister, the Duke 
of Leeds, who was personally committed to it, resigned his 
office. Another messenger was sent to the British Ambas- 
sador at St. Petersburg with instructions not to present the 
menacing despatch to the Czar, and, fortunately, arrived in 
time to prevent it. 

Sir E. Creasy describes the action of Charles Fox in 
thus defeating the policy of Pitt as due to violent and un- 
scrupulous party motives, and Mr. Lecky, while agreeing 
in substance with the arguments of Fox, and condemning 
Pitt's policy, does not acquit the former of political partisan- 
ship. He never loses an opportunity of impeaching the 
conduct of Charles Fox, on account of his action in the 
war with the American colonies and in the revolutionary 
war with France. It may be permitted to us to say, in 
spite of these high authorities, that seldom has a greater 
service been done to the country than in the defeat of Pitt's 
proposal to go to war with Russia on this occasion. It 


was a unique case in our constitutional history when the 
House of Commons by its debates, and not by its votes, 
defeated a proposal for war made to it by a Prime Minister, 
with all the authority of the Crown and the Government. 
The merit of this was mainly due to Fox. 

In the meantime the Turks were incurring further defeats 
on the Danube. They made desperate efforts to replenish 
their armies, but the men were ill -trained and were unable 
to meet the veteran troops of Russia. Kutusoff, at the head 
of a Russian army, routed a great Ottoman army at 
Babatagh in January 1791, and in July of the same year 
Prince Repnin, with forty thousand Russians, defeated and 
dispersed seventy thousand Turks at Maksyu, on the southern 
bank of the Danube. The Turks were equally unfortunate 
on the east of the Black Sea. A Russian army invaded 
the province of Kuban and defeated a Turkish army there, 
and occupied the whole of the province. 

As a result of all these reverses the Divan was dispirited. 
There was no prospect of assistance to Turkey from any 
quarter. They were willing to come to terms. The 
Empress, on her part, was equally willing. She wanted 
her army to march into Poland to put down an outbreak 
of the Poles, under Kosciuszko. In spite of her recent 
victories, which had secured to her the occupation of 
Bessarabia, Moldavia, Wallachia, and the Kuban, she was 
ready to give up all with the exception of the fortress of 
Oczakoff and the country between the Rivers Dniester and 
Bug. Terms on this basis, and without any mediation 
or interference of other Powers, were agreed on between 
Russia and Turkey in August, 1791, and were embodied 
in the treaty of Jassy in January of the following year. 
Under this treaty the River Dniester was the new boundary 
of the Russian Empire, and all conquests west of it were 
restored to the Turks. Russia also gave back the province 
of Kuban, but the treaty recognized the Emf)ress as the pro- 
tector of the petty independent principalities in that region. 

The project of carving for Potemkin a kingdom out of 
the Danubian principalities was abandoned, and that of a 
Greek Empire at Constantinople was indefinitely adjourned, 
Potemkin, who was a Pole by birth and had been raised 
from the position of a sergeant in the Russian army to 
princely rank with a fortune estimated at seven millions of 
our money, died a few days after the treaty. 


In the next four years the Empress achieved the final 
partition of Poland, and obtained for Russia the lion's 
share. Had she lived, she would probably have used her 
acquisitions there as a vantage-ground for new aggressions 
on the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile Greece was abandoned 
to the tender mercies of its oppressors. 




Twenty years after the treaty of Jassy, another sUce of 
the Ottoman territory was ceded to Russia in 1812 by the 
treaty of Bucharest. The history of Turkey during the 
interval is full of interest in its relation to the Napoleonic 
wars, but much of it has little bearing^ on the shrinkage of 
the Empire. 

After the conclusion of the war with Russia in 1792, 
Sultan Selim was most anxious to maintain peace and to 
keep out of the complications arising from the French 
Revolution. He was fully conscious of the necessity for 
reforms in every branch of the administration of his country, 
and especially in the constitution and training of the army. 
He regarded the Janissaries as a grave danger to the 
State. He initiated many great schemes of reform. But 
in 1798 these were nipped in the bud by a fresh outbtreak 
of hostilities . War was forced upon him most unexpectedly, 
and without just cause or even pretext, by the Revolutionary 
Government of France, a country whose traditional policy 
had been to support the Ottoman Empire against that of 
Austria. France had recently become a near neighbour 
to Turkey. Under the treaty of Campo-Formio in 1797, 
after the great victories of General Bonaparte in ItaJy, 
the Republic of Venice ceased to exist. Venice itself, 
and much of its Italian territories, were subjected to the 
rule of Austria, and its possessions in the Adriatic, the 
Ionian Islands, and the cities on the mainland, such as 
Prevesa and Parga, were ceded to France. This change 
of masters was welcomed by the inhabitants of the islands, 
who were weary of the tyranny of the Venetians. 

The Directory, which then rtiled in France, was filled 



ivith ambition for further extensions in the East. It was 
under the impression that the Ottoman Empire was on 
the point of complete dissolution. There was much, at 
the time, to justify this view. The central power of the 
State was almost paralysed. The pashas of many provinces, 
such as Ali of Janina, Passhwan Oglou of Widdin, and 
Djezzar of Acre, had made themselves all but independent 
of the Sultan. Egypt was virtually ruled by the Mamelukes. 
Its pasha, appointed by the Porte, was without any authority, 
Serbia and Greece were seething with rebellion. Bonaparte, 
while commanding the army in Italy, sent emissaries to 
several of these provinces, and especially to Greece, holding 
out hopes of support in the event of open rebellion. It 
seemed at first as though his ambition was for extension of 
French dominion in Greece and other European provinces 
of the Porte. An army of forty thousand men, including 
the best of the veterans who had fought in Italy, was 
mobilized at Toulon. Two hundred transports were pre- 
pared to convey them to some unknown destination, and 
a pvowerftil fleet of fifteen battleships and fifteen frigates 
was ordered to act as convoy. At the last moment the 
Directory, at the instance of Bonaparte, decided on the 
invasion of Egypt. A blow was to be struck there, not 
against the Porte, but against England, with whom France 
was at war. There were vague intentions or dreams, after 
the conquest of Egypi:, of invading India and founding 
a great Eastern Empire for France on the ruins of the 
British Empire. It was pretended that the attack on Egypt 
was not an act of hostility to the Porte. Egypt, it was 
Baid, was to be delivered from the cruel and corrupt govern* 
ment of the Mamelukes. There was no declaration of 
war against the Sultan. It was expected that he would 
acquiesce in the suppression of the Mamelukes. 

The utmost secrecy was maintained as to the destination 
of the expedition. It left Toulon on May 19, 1798, under 
the command of Bonaparte. He took with him many of 
the ablest generals who had served under him in Italy and 
a large party of ' savants,' who were to explore the monu- 
ments of Egypt. The orders from the Directory to 
Bonaparte, drawn up doubtless by himself, were 

to clear the English from all their Oriental possessions which he will be 
able to reach, and notably to destroy all their stations in the Red Sea ; 


to cut through the Isthmus of Suez and to take the necessary measures to 
assure the free and exclusive possession of that sea to the French 

The destination of this great fleet and army was ^nknown 
to the British Government. But there was a strong British 
fleet at the entrance of the Mediterranean, lender Lord St. 
Vincent, who detached a large part of it, imder command 
of Nelson, to watch the issue of the French fleet from 
Toulon. It was composed of an equal number of battle- 
ships to that of the French fleet, but of inferior size, and 
with fewer guns. It was very deficient in frigates. 

On June i oth, three weeks after escaping from Toulon, the 
French fleet arrived at Malta. The Knights of St. John, who 
had made so valiant and successful a defence of the island 
against the Ottomans in 1565, now offered a very feeble 
resistance to the French. The knightly monks had become 
licentious and corrupt. They very soon capitulated. 
Bonaparte annexed the island to France, and the ancient 
Order came to an ignominious end. 

Leaving four thousand men at Malta, the fleet sailed for 
the island of Crete, and hearing there that Nelson was 
in pursuit, Bonaparte at once decided to sail to Alexandria. 
He then for the first time announced to the army its 
destination . 

Soldiers [he said in a proclamation], you go to undertake a conquest 
of which the effects upon the civilization and the commerce of the world 
will be incalculable. You will strike at England the most certain and the 
most acute blow, while waiting to give her the death-blow. . . . The 
Mamelukes, who favour exclusively English commerce, some days after 
your arrival will exist no more. 

Nelson meanwhile, when he discovered the departure of 
the French fleet from Toulon, shrewdly guessed that it 
was bound to Egypt, and bent his course there, hoping to 
find the enemy's ships at Alexandria. He arrived there on 
June 28th, before the French fleet, and, hearing nothing of 
it, he doubled back to Sicily. The two fleets crossed one 
another not far from Crete, and within sight of one another 
if the weather had been bright ; but a dense haze and 
the want of frigates to act as scouts prevented Nelson 
discovering the proximity of his enemy. But for this it 
is certain that the French fleet, encumbered as it was 


with two hundred transports, would have been totally- 
destroyed and the whole armada would have met with 
unparalleled disaster. It is interesting matter for specula- 
tion what effect this would have had on the career of the 
Corsican general and on the history of Europe. As it 
was, the French fleet and army, favoured by their extra- 
ordinary good luck, arrived safely at Alexandria on July ist. 
The army disembarked there. The battleships, not being 
able to get into the harbour, were anchored in Aboukir 
Bay. Alexandria was captured, after a slight resistance 
by its small garrison — ^though Bonaparte himself was slightly 
wounded in the attack. A week later the army commenced 
its march to Cairo. 

Bonaparte issued one of his bombastic and mendacious 
proclamations to the Egyptian people, explaining that he 
was making war against the Mamelukes, and not against 
them or the Sultan. 

For a long time [it said] the crowd of slaves bought in Georgia and the 
Caucasus have tyrannized the most beautiful place in the world ; but God, 
on whom all depends, has ordained that their empire is finished. People 
of Egypt, they have told you that I have come to destroy your religion. 
Do not believe them. Answer that I am come to restore your rights, to 
punish the usurpers, and that I respect more than the Mamelukes, God, 
his Prophet, and the Koran. . . . Thrice happy are those who will be on 
our side. They will prosper in their fortune and their rank. . . . But 
woe threefold to those who arm themselves for the Mamelukes and fight 
against us. . . . Each man will thank God for the destruction of the 
Mamelukes and will cry " Glory to the Sultan ! Glory to the French 
army, his friend ! Malediction to the Mamelukes and good luck to the 
people of Egypt." 

The army suffered greatly on its march to Cairo from 
the heat and the sand. The soldiers murmured and asked 
for what purpose they were brought to such a country, 
where they saw no evidence of wealth, and where there was 
nothing to loot. But they fought twio battles on the way 
against the Mamelukes and easily defeated them. The armies 
against them on both occasions consisted of no more than 
twelve thousand men, of whom only five thousand were 
Mamelukes and the others ill -trained fellaheen. These were 
of no avail against thirty thousand veterans of the French. 
The city of Cairo, on the approach of Bonaparte, Was sacked 

J 6 


by the retreating Egyptians. He presented himself rather 
as the saviour of life and property. He had no difficulty 
in restoring order there. 

Meanwhile Nelson, on the arrival of his fleet at Naples, 
heard definite accounts of the destination of the French 
armada. He retraced his course to Egypt. On the 
memorable ist of August, 1798, he came in sight of the 
enemy's fleet, anchored in Aboukir Bay. The oft -told story 
of the decisive and glorious battle need not be repeated. 
The French fleet, under Admiral Brueys, was annihilated 
by the British fleet, much inferior in number of men and 
guns. The admiral was killed. His flagship was blown 
up. Only two of his ships escaped for a time, and later 
were captured before reaching France. As a result, the 
communications of the French army with France were 
thenceforth completely severed. It was hopelessly stranded 
in Egypt. Bonaparte did not hear of the disaster till 
August 19th, on his return from an expedition, in which 
he defeated and chased from the country a force of Mame- 
lukes, under Ibrahim Pasha. His sole remark was : "Eh 
bien ! It will be necessary to remain in these countries 
or to make a grand exit like the ancients. The English 
will compel us to do greater things than we intended." 

The signal victory of the British fleet had far-reaching' 
results. The Sultan of Turkey, who had hitherto been 
undecided as to his policy, now felt that he might safely 
take up arms against the French and reassert his sovereignty 
in Egypt. He well knew that Bonaparte could receive 
no reinforcements from France and that the invading army 
must gradually melt away . He declared war against France, 
and entered into alliances, offensive and defensi^ve, with 
Russia and England. His alliance with the former led to 
strange results. A combined fleet of Russia and Turkey, 
hitherto the most deadly foes to one another, issued from 
the Dardanelles, and attacked and drove the French from 
the Ionian Islands, so recently acquired by them, and 
from their fortresses on the mainland. 

The Porte also collected two armies for the reconquest 
of Egypt, the one in Syria, the other in the island of 
Rhodes. Bonaparte decided to anticipate attack by the 
invasion of Syria. He spent at Cairo the winter of 1798-9, 
the least reputable period of his amazing career. His 
private life there was most scandalous, far more so than 


that, bad enough, of his wife, Josephine, whom he had 
left at Paris. His public life was little better. In the 
hopes of conciliating the Egyptian people and facilitating 
the further conquests in the East, of which he dreamt, he 
professed unbounded admiration for the Moslem religion. 
He feigned to be a convert to that faith. His vaunting 
proclamations were headed : "In the name of Allah. There 
is no God but God. He has no son and reigns without 
a partner." He did his best to induce his soldiers to 
become Moslems, but in vain. No one was taken in by 
these fooleries. He gained no respect from Egyptians of 
any creed. There were many outbreaks in different parts 
of the country, and a most serious one in Cairo. They 
were put down with ruthless severity. He followed the 
Turkish practice of decapitating the prisoners and great 
numbers of suspects, and exhibiting their bleeding heads 
in public places as a warning to others. 

Bonaparte left Egypt in January, 1799, with an army 
of twenty -five thousand, made up in part by sailors of 
his sunken fleet, and in part by recruits from the Mame- 
lukes. He crossed the Isthmus of Suez, and reached Gaza 
on February 25th and Jaffa on March 7th. This last 
city was held by five thousand Turks. After a brave 
defence they capitulated on terms that they should be 
treated as prisoners of war. In disregard of this they 
were marched down to the beach and, by order of 
Bonaparte, were slaughtered in cold blood because it was 
inconvenient to encumber his army with prisoners. No 
worse deed of Turkish atrocity has been recorded in these 
pages. Leaving Jaffa, his army arrived before Acre in 
a few days. " When I have captured Acre," he said to 
his generals, " I shall arm the tribes. I shall be in a 
position to threaten Constantinople. I shall turn the British 
Empire upside down." 

But he reached at Acre the end of his tether in the 
East. He had sent his heavy guns by sea to meet him 
there. They were captured on the way by the British 
fleet, and were now mounted on the mud ramparts 
of the fortress and used against him'. A British fleet, 
.under command of Sir Sidney Smith, was lying in the 
roadstead and kept the communications open with Con- 
stantinople. The admiral and his sailors assisted in the 
defence of the city, the garrison of which consisted |of 


only three thousand men. Its weak fortifications had been 
strengthened by Colonel Philippeaux, a distinguished French 
royalist. Against these defences Bonaparte hurled his army 
in vain. In the sixty days of siege there 'were forty 
assaults and twenty sorties of the garrison. *' In that 
miserable fort," said Bonaparte, " lay the fate of the East." 

On May 7th large reinforcements arrived from the 
Turkish army at Rhodes. A last and desperate assault, 
led by General Kl^ber, was unsuccessful. Bonaparte was 
compelled to admit his failure. His dream of an Eastern 
Empire was dissipated for ever. On May 20th he com- 
menced a retreat, after a loss by death of four thousand 
men and eight generals. The army suffered most severely 
in passing through the desert. 

Shortly after the return of the French troops to Egypt 
on July 14th, an army of fifteen thousand Turks, con- 
voyed by the British fleet, was landed at Aboukir. 
Bonaparte attacked on the 25th and utterly defeated it. 
Thousands of the Turks were driven into the sea and 
drowned. This victory of the veterans of the French army 
over the ill -trained Turkish levies, without guns or cavalry, 
Wajs a -gadsend to Bonaparte. It shed a gleam of glory over 
the terrible failure of the whole expedition. His dispatches 
made the most of it. At this stage news from France 
showed the necessity for his return there. He decided to 
abandon the army to its fate. With the utmost secrecy 
arrangements were made for the embarkation of the 
general and his staff on board two frigates. They irode 
down to the shore and got into boats, leaving their horses 
behind them. The return of the riderless horses was the 
first intimation to those left behind that they were aban- 
doned by their general. The two frigates left Egypt on 
August 22nd and, by hugging the African coast, they 
escaped the British cruisers, and after a most hazardous 
voyage of six weeks they landed their passengers in France, 
where Bonaparte posed as a conqueror. Nor did his failure 
in Egypt interfere with his subsequent triumphant career. 

Early in March 1801 a British army of fifteen thousand 
men, under Sir Ralph Abercromby, landed in Egypt, and 
later another contingent, under General Baird, coming from 
India, also arrived there. The French army of occupa- 
tion was badly handled. It was divided between Cairo 
and Alexandria. It was defeated in detail and ultimately 


surrendered. It was then said to number twenty -four 
thousand men and three hundred and twelve guns. On 
hearing of this disaster Bonaparte is said to have felt 
great anguish. " We have lost Egypt," he said. " My 
projects have been destroyed by the British." Egypt was 
restored to the Sultan, freed not only from the French but 
also from the Mamelukes, and for a time Turkish pashas, 
appointed by the Porte, ruled the country. There can be 
no doubt that the Sultan owed this wholly and solely to 
the British Government. It will be seen that he showed 
little gratitude, for in a very few years' time he took the part 
of the French in the great war. 

Meanwhile, in 1802, a peace was patched up for a time 
between England and France at Amiens. Concurrently 
with this terms of peace were agreed upon between France 
and the Porte, under which the sovereignty of the Sultan 
over Egypt was recognized. When, two years later, war 
again broke out between France and England and other 
Powers, Bonaparte, then First Consul, reversed his action 
as regards the Ottoman Empire, and made an alliance 
with it a cardinal point of his new policy. 

After the conclusion of peace with France in 1802, 
Sultan Selim had a respite for a very few years before 
he was again involved in war. He directed his attention 
to serious internal reforms of his Empire. He fully recag- 
nized that the first and foremost of these must be the 
reorganization, if not the suppression, of the corps of 
Janissaries. Not only had the experience of late wars 
shown that they had become a most incompetent military 
force, quite unable to meet on equal terms the well-trained 
soldiers of Russia and France, but in every part of his 
Empire they were a danger to the State, endeavouring to 
monopolize power and to oust that of the pashas appointed 
by himself. They were also the main oppressors of the 
rayas. The task of suppressing them and of creating 
an army on the model of those of European Powers was 
a most difficult and dangerous one, for the Janissaries 
were, or pretended to be, the most devout of Moslems, 
and were supported by the fanatical part of the popula- 
tion. They had strong supporters in the Divan. The 
ulemas were almost unanimously in their favour. The 
Divan was divided into two parties, those who favoured 
reform and who gave support to the Sultan, and the 


reactionary party, who were opposed to all reform and 
championed the Janissaries. There was another serious 
division of the Divan — namely those who espoused the cause 
of Russia, not unfrequently in the pay of that Power, and 
those who favoured France. After the conclusion of peace, 
France was represented at the Court of the Sultan by very 
able ministers, who soon regained the influence for that 
country which it had formerly enjoyed. 

Nowhere throughout the Empire were the Janissaries 
more turbulent and dangerous or more oppressive to the 
rayas than in Serbia. They aimed at governing the 
province in the same way as the Mamelukes in Egypt 
and the military Deys in Algiers and Tunis, and if they 
had been allowed to have their way, Serbia would have 
achieved a virtual independence of the Porte, under a 
military and fanatical Moslem despotism. The Janissaries 
there were almost as hostile to the Spahis inhabiting the 
provinces as to the rayas. They aimed at ousting the 
Spahis from their feudal rights in the country districts 
and at an assumption of ow^nership of land, more oppres- 
sive to the peasant Christian cultivators of the soil than 
that of the Spahis. Both Spahis and rayas appealed 
to the Porte for protection against these ruffians. The 
rayas in their petition to the Su|tan said that — 

not only were they reduced to abject poverty by the Dahis (the leaders 
of the Janissaries), but they were attacked in their religion, their morality, 
and their honour. No husband was secure as to his wife, no father as 
to his daughter, no brother as to his sister. The Church, the cloister, the 
monks, the priests, all were violated. Art thou still our Czar ? then come 
and free us from these evildoers, and if thou wilt not save us, at least tell 
us that we may decide whether to flee to the mountains and forests, or to 
seek in the rivers a termination of our miserable existence.* 

The Sultan was willing to listen to these grave com- 
plaints, and to put down the turbulent Dahis and their 
attendant Janissaries, not so much out of sympathy for 
the rayas as in order to restore his own authority in 
the province and as a first step towards the reformation or 
suppression of the Janissaries elsewhere throughout his 
Empire. He began by threatening the Dahis. If they 
did not mend their ways, he would send an army against 

' I^anke's History of Serbia, p. 115, 


them. These ruffians, knowing that the Sultan could not 
venture to employ a Moslem force against them^ came to 
the conclusion that he meant to arm the rayas of the 
province. They determined to anticipate this by a general 
massacre. If no resistance had been offered to this, the 
whole Christian population of Serbia would have been 
exterminated. The rayas, however, were no longer the 
submissive and patient people they had been reduced to 
by servitude for two hundred and fifty years under the 
Turks, during which no one of them had been allowed 
to carry about him a weapon of defence. As has been 
already stated, they had been invited to rebel by the 
Austrians in their last war with the Turks, had been armed 
by them, and had given valuable assistance. Great 
numbers of them had been trained as soldiers, and retained 
their arms when the Austrians retired from the country, 
after the peace of Sistova, which provided no adequate 
security for these unfortunate people. 

They now, in 1807, rose in arms against their 
oppressors, who were bent on exterminating them. They 
elected as their leader George Petrowitsch (Kara George, 
as he is known in history), a peasant like themselves, a 
most brave man, who had served in the ^Austrian army, 
and who soon showed great qualities as a general. Under 
his leadership the rayas succeeded in driving the Dahis 
and Janissaries out of the country districts. 

The Sultan at the commencement of this servile war 
lent his assistance to the rayas. The Pasha of Bosnia 
was instructed to support them with an armed force. The 
local Spahis also, who were still in the country and had 
not been driven away by the Dahis, lent assistance. On 
the other hand, the Dahis received assistance from the 
fanatical part of the Moslems in the towns. They had 
also the sympathy and aid of Passhwan Oglou, the mutinous 
Pasha of Widdin. It was, however, almost wholly due to 
the efforts of the Serbian rayas that the Dahis were com- 
pletely defeated. Most of them were slaughtered, and the 
world was well rid of them. When this was achieved, 
the whole of Serbia was practically in the hands of the 
Christian rayas, with the exception of Belgrade and a few 
fortresses, which were garrisoned by the Sultan's troops. 

At this stage the Sultan, when all that he really aimed 
at w^s achieved — namely the suppression of the local Janis- 


saries — ^summoned the insurgent rayas to lay down their 
arms and to resume their position as subjects of the Porte 
and as rayas under the yoke of the local Spahis as of 
yore. The war, however, had evoked a national spirit 
among the Christian population, which would not be con- 
tent with the old condition of servitude. They sent a 
petition to the Russian Government claiming assistance on 
the ground that they were members of the Greek Church. 
The Czar, in reply, advised them to present their claims 
at Constantinople, and promised to give his support to 
them at the Porte. They then sent a deputation to the 
Sultan, and boldly claimed that Belgrade and the other 
fortresses should be given up to them, and asked that 
arrears of taxes and tribute should be remitted. The first 
of these was the most important, for it virtually meant 
a claim for autonomy under the suzerainty only of the 

These demands caused the greatest indignation among 
the Moslems of the capital, and the Sultan forthwith re- 
jected them. He ordered the members of the deputation 
to be imprisoned. He directed the Pasha of Nisch to 
invade Serbia and reduce the contumacious rayas to their 
former condition. He threatened them with death or 
slavery. Kara George met this force on the frontier |of 
Serbia and defeated it. He also defeated two other armies 
which the Sultan sent against him, and he was able, un- 
aided by any external force, to capture Belgrade and the 
other fortresses and expel the Turkish garrisons. Thus it 
happened that the native Christians of Serbia, by their 
own heroic efforts, without any foreign assistance, achieved 
a virtual independence of Ottoman rule, an event of supreme 
importance in its effect on other Christian communities 
under servitude to the Turks. 

Meanwhile important events were developing at Con- 
stantinople. It was the scene of a violent diplomatic 
struggle between Russia and England on the one hand, 
and France on the other, for the support of the Porte in 
the war then raging in Europe. The Emperor Napoleon 
sent as ambassador there General Sebastian!, formerly a 
priest, now a soldier and able diplomat. His demands 
were supported by the great victory pf the French over 
the Austrians at Ulm. The recent acquisition by France 
of Dalmatia and a part of Croatia brought that Po>yer 


into close relation with Turkey. Sebastiani pressed for 
the support of Turkey with great insistence. 

On the other hand, Russia was equally cogent in its 
demands, and even more threatening. It insisted on an 
alliance, offensive and defensive. It demanded that the 
Sultan should recognize the Czar as the protector of all 
the Christians in Turkey professing the Greek religion, 
and that the Russian Ambassador should have the right 
of intervention on their behalf. The Sultan, conscious of 
the inferiority of his military force, could only temporize. 

Moslem pride and fanaticism was greatly excited by 
the demands of Russia. Sebastiani, working on this, 
persuaded the Sultan, by way of retort to Russia, to depose 
the Hospodars of Moldavia and Wallachia, on the ground 
that they were suspected of being pensioners of Russia. 
The Czar treated this as a gross breach of the engage- 
ment entered into by the Porte, in 1802, under which the 
Hospodars of the two principalities were only to be removed 
from their posts with the consent of Russia. He there- 
upon ordered an army of thirty -five thousand men, under 
General Michelsen, to invade Moldavia. The army entered 
Jassy and, a little later, Bucharest before the Porte was 
able to make any resistance. 

The British Government at the same time gave full 
support to Russia. Its Ambassador, Mr. Arbuthnot, in- 
sisted on the Porte joining the alliance of England and 
Russia against France. The Sultan refused to do so. Mr. 
Arbuthnot thereupon sailed away in a frigate and joined 
the British fleet lying off the island of Tenedos, under the 
command of Admiral Duckworth, which consisted of seven 
battleships and two frigates. This fleet, favoured by a 
fair wind, then forced the Dardanelles against the Turkish 
batteries on February 19, 1807, with little damage, and 
made its appearance in the Sea of Marmora. It there 
destroyed a Turkish battleship and four corvettes. 

The fleet anchored off the Prince's Islands, within a few 
miles of Constantinople, which was exposed to bombard- 
ment from the sea. The admiral presented a demand to 
the Porte for the surrender of the Ottoman fleet lying at 
Constantinople and for compliance with the demands of Mr. 
Arbuthnot. He threatened to bombard the city if his 
ultimatum was rejected. If any serious effect could have 
been given to this menace, immediate action should have 


been taken. The Ambassador and the admiral allowed 
themselves to be drawn into a negotiation spread over ten 
days, during which the Sultan and the whole male popu- 
lation of his capital were engaged, with feverish haste, in 
strengthening the defences of the city. A thousand guns 
and a hundred mortars were mounted on its batteries. 
The Turkish fleet, consisting of twelve battleships, was 
removed to a point in the harbour beyond the reach of 
the guns of a bombarding fleet. The defences of the 
Dardanelles were also greatly strengthened. Admiral Duck- 
worth was compelled at last to the conclusion that a 
bombardment would be attended with very serious risk 
to his own fleet. If it were damaged, the Turkish fleet,' 
coming out of the Bosphorus, might assail it with advantage. 
It might also be impossible for it to repass the Dardanelles. 
He decided to withdraw. On March ist he weighed anchor, 
and on the 3rd he repassed the Dardanelles, this time with 
considerable damage to his ships and loss of life. Some 
of the ships were struck by the enormous stone balls fired 
from the Turkish batteries. Two corvettes were sunk and 
six hundred men were killed. The fleet narrowly escaped 
destruction. The whole adventure redounded little to the 
credit either of the diplomacy or strategy of the British 
Government . 

Not content with this futile demonstration against Con- 
stantinople, the British Government attempted another 
expedition, even more futile and senseless, this time against 
Egypt, in the hope, it may be supposed, of bringing 
pressure to bear on the Sultan. A force of five thousand 
soldiers was sent from Sicily, then in British occupation, 
and was landed on the Egyptian coast near Alexandria 
on March 1 8th. It marched on that city, which, garrisoned 
by only four hundred and fifty Turks, surrendered. This 
was its first and last success. A few days later fifteen 
hundred men were sent to attack Rosetta, at the mouth of 
the Nile, and were repulsed. Another expedition was even 
more unsuccessful. Of two thousand men sent out, one 
thousand were killed and wounded. There seems to have 
been expectation that the Mamelukes would assist the British 
against the Turkish troops. This was not realized. The 
remains of the small army under General Eraser were 
cooped up in Alexandria until September, when, owing 
|:o the serious disaffection of the inhabitants of the city 


and the approach of a large body of Turks from Cairo, 
it was recognized that its position was untenable. A flag 
of truce was sent to the advancing Turks with the offer 
to evacuate Egypt if the British prisoners in their hands 
were given up to them. This was accepted, and on 
September 25th the little army embarked again on its 
transports and returned to Sicily. 

These two senseless expeditions had an effect the very 
reverse of which was intended. They exasperated Turkish 
opinion and drove the Porte into closer alliance with the 
French. In the meantime, and since the failure of the 
demonstration by 'Duckworth's fleet, momentous events 
occurred in Constantinople. The Sultan took advantage 
of the departure of the main body of Janissaries with the 
army sent to the Danube to extend his scheme for raising 
a military force, clothed and drilled and paid on the 
European system. He issued an edict that the youngest 
and best of the Janissaries were to be enrolled in this new 
corps. This caused the gravest discontent among the 
Janissaries still in garrison at Constantinople, to the re- 
actionary party in the Divan, and to the ulemas. The 
Janissaries broke out in mutiny at the end of May 1807. 
They put this question to the Mufti : " What punishment 
is deserved by one who has established the new military 
force? " The Mufti replied : '* Death, and that according to 
the Koran, since the Divan had introduced among! Mussul- 
mans the manners of infidels and manifested an intention 
to suppress the Janissaries, who were the true defenders 
of the law and the prophets." 

Fortified by this fetva, the Janissaries then passed a 
resolution that Selim must be deposed. They sent a deputa- 
tion to the Sultan to insist on his abdication. Selim, 
however, had already heard of their intention. He had 
no force at hand sufficient to overcome the mutinous 
Janissaries. He anticipated their demands by himself going 
to the Cage, where his cousin Mustapha, the next heir 
to the throne, was immured, making obeisance to him as 
Sultan, advising him not to listen to those who desired 
great changes, and wishing him a happier reign than his 
own. He then attempted to commit suicide by taking 
poison, but Mustapha dashed the cup containing it from 
his hands and swore that his life should be saved. On 
the arrival of the deputation of Janissaries at the palace 


they found that a new Suhan was already installed there. 
Selim retired with dignity to the apartments in the Cage 
vacated by Mustapha. 

The new Sultan, Mustapha III, was a very weak and 
incompetent man. He was aged thirty, of imperfect educa- 
tion and poor intellect. He filled the throne for a few 
months only, during which there was practically no govern- 
ment. Though Selim himself was reconciled to the loss 
of his throne, he had powerful friends who resented his 
fall. Bairactar, the Pasha of Rustchuck, who owed his 
post to Selim, marched upon Constantinople with forty 
thousand Bosnians and Albanians. They overawed the 
Janissaries and invaded the palace. They knocked at its 
gates and demanded that Selim should be brought out to 
them. Mustapha, however, on their approach, had already 
given orders that Selim and Mahmoud, the only survivors 
of the Othman race besides himself, were to be put to 
d^th, in the hope that this might save his own life. The 
mutes were able to strangle Selim, not without a desperate 
struggle, which, if prolonged for a few minutes, would 
have saved him, for Bairactar was already storming at 
the gate of the palace. Mahmoud could not be found. 
Selim's body was then cast out to Bairactar and his men. 
" Here is he you seek ! " it was called out. On entering 
the palace Bairactar found Mustapha seated on his throne. 
He was dragged from it and was sent to prison. Mahmoud, 
who had been hidden in the fi^-nace of a bath, was found 
and was installed as Sultan. 

Bairactar, having succeeded in deposing Mustapha land 
installing Mahmoud, most unwisely allowed the Bosnian 
and Albanian troops to return to their homes. There 
remained only four thousand men as a bodyg'uard on whom 
the new Sultan could rely. They were not sufficient to with- 
stand the Janissaries. These turbulent men broke out in 
another rebellion. They attacked Bairactar in his palace. 
He took refuge in a tower used as a powder magazine. 
He was there blown up, whether b^y accident or wilfully 
is not known. There ensued a few days of civil war. 
The artillery on whom the Sultan relied went over to the 
Janissaries. A counter-revolution was efifected. Mustapha 
would have been restored to the throne if he had not 
been put to death in the interval. Mahmoud owed his 
}if^ to the fact that he was the last surviving male of 


the Othman race. He was compelled to yield to the 
menaces of the Janissaries, who were now masters of the 
city. An edict was issued in his name which repealed all 
the reforms effected by Selim. The old system was 
restored, with all its abuses. In the next three or four 
years the Janissaries were virtually the rulers of the Empire. 
Grand Viziers were appointed and dismissed at their dicta- 
tion. Mahmoud was greatly humiliated. But he bided 
his time, and it will be seen that before long he inflicted 
a most bloody revenge on the Janissaries and extinguished 
their corps for ever. 

Meanwhile affairs on the Danube fared badly with the 
Turks, as might be expected. The Russians gained com- 
plete possession of Moldavia and Wallachia. Their armies 
crossed the Danube and laid siege to fortresses on the 
right bank. In 1807 Russia and France came to terms. 
The treaty of Tilsit provided that hostilities were to cease 
between Russia and Turkey, and that the Russian troops 
were to be withdrawn from Moldavia and Wallachia, till 
a definitive agreement had been come to between these two 
Powers. But a secret article, which was not made public 
till some time later, provided that all the European provinces 
of Turkey, except Roumelia and Constantinople, were to 
be taken from the Sultan. We now know that there were 
long discussions between Napoleon and the Czar, on the 
River Niemen, as to the future disposal of these and 
other provinces. Napoleon was ready to concede to Russia 
the Danubian principalities and Bulgaria. He claimed for 
France Egypt, Syria, Greece, all the islands of the Archi- 
pelago, and Crete. Austria was to be propitiated by the 
cession of Bosnia and Serbia. The question remained what 
was to be done with Constantinople. Napoleon would not 
concede it to Russia. The Czar insisted upon this. The 
agreement broke down on this point. But it is certain 
that Napoleon was willing enough to throw over his recent 
allies, the Turks, and to join with their hereditary foe in 
dismembering their Empire. A more perfidious transaction 
is not to be found in history. 

In compliance with the treaty of Tilsit, Russia suspended 
hostilities with the Porte. But the Russian army remained 
in occupation of Wallachia and Moldavia, and showed no 
intention to evacuate them. War was renewed in 1809. 
Prince Bagration, at the head of a Russian army, crossed 


the Danube and captured several Turkish fortresses on its 
right bank. In the following year, 1810, the Russians 
captured the important stronghold Silistria, but failed with 
very heavy loss in an assault on Rustchuck. Later in the 
year they inflicted a severe defeat on the army of the 
Grand Vizier at Baltin. They then succeeded in a second 
attack on Rustchuck, and captured Sistova. But they failed 
to take the fortified camp at Schumla, and were unable 
therefore to cross the Balkan range. 

In 1 8 1 1 war was again imminent between Russia and 
France, and the Russian generals on the Danube received 
orders to stand on the defensive. The Turks took 
advantage of this, and sent a large army across the Danube. 
It was eventually defeated and compelled to surrender. 
In spite of their successes, the Russians were willing to 
come to terms. They had hitherto insisted on the retention 
of WaUachia and Moldavia. They were now ready to 
make concessions. The invasion of Russia by Napoleon 
was imminent. It was necessary for the Czar to con- 
centrate all his forces in defence of his own Empire. 
Negotiations were commenced in 181 1, and they resulted 
in the treaty of Bucharest of May 28, 1812. It was 
agreed that the River Pruth was to be the new boundary 
between the two Empires. The whole of Wallachia and 
a great part of Moldavia were restored to Turkey. Bess- 
arabia and a part of Moldavia were ceded to Russia. 

The treatment of Serbia in the treaty was ungenerous 
on the part of Russia. An amnesty was to be granted to 
its people. They were to be secured in future the regulation 
of their internal affairs. But the supremacy of the Sultan 
was to be maintained, and Belgrade and other fortresses 
which had been captured by the Serbians were again to 
be garrisoned by Turkish troops. This last was the cause 
of great troubles in the future. But for the impending 
invasion of Russia by Napoleon the terms would .undoubtedly 
have been far less favourable to the Porte. 



The first four years of Mahmoud's long reign of thirty- 
one years were fraught with bitter humiliation to him at 
the hands of the Janissaries. There was no indication of 
his subsequent career, when he proved himself to be the 
most able and resolute of Sultans since Solyman the Mag'ni- 
ficent. But he was also the most unfortunate, for he was 
unable to prevent a greater reduction of the Turkish Empire 
than had been incurred by any one of the long line of 
degenerate Sultans. It may well be, however, that but for 
his action still greater losses would have resulted, for on his 
advent to the throne the Empire seemed to be on the brink 
of ruin. In every part of it turbulent and rebelHous pashas 
were asserting independence. In Epirus the celebrated Ali 
Pasha of Janina had cast off allegiance, and was threatening 
to extend his rule over Greece, Thessaly, and the Ionian 
Islands. At Widdin on the Danube, at Baghdad on the 
Tigris, at Acre in Syria, the same process was being pur- 
sued by other pashas. In Egypt, Mehemet Ali had assumed 
the position of Governor and was creating an army and a 
navy independent of the Porte. In Arabia, the sect of 
Wahabees had attained a virtual independence, and had 
obtained possession of the holy cities. Other provinces, 
such as Serbia, Wallachia, Moldavia, and Greece, were 
seething with disaffection caused by long and intolerable 
misgovernment. The difficulty of holding together the 
distracted Empire was greatly increased by the want of an 
effective army under the full control of the central Govern- 
ment, so as to enable it to cope with the centrifugal forces 
which threatened disruption. The Janissaries, who had 
contributed so largely to the growth of the Empire, were 



now a standing danger to it. They were able to overawie 
the Sultan, and to dictate to him the appointment and dis- 
missal of Viziers. But successive campaigns on the Danube, 
and conflicts with rebellious pashas, had given abundant 
proof of their inefficiency as a military force. Compared 
with the armies of European Powers they were an ill- 
disciphned and badly armed mob. They arrogantly refused 
to be armed, clothed, and drilled after the fashion of 
European armies. While useless for war, they were formid- 
able for other purposes. They were under no control. 
They terrorized the capital, and in the provinces they were 
at the disposal of any adventurous pasha who suborned 
them to support his ambitious and rebellious projects. 
Mahmoud from the earliest years of his reign fully recog- 
nized, as many of his predecessors had done, how urgent 
the necessity was to put an end to this turbulent force, 
and to create a new army which wQuld obey and support 
him as Sultan, and be of value against external enemies. 
It is his principal claim in the history of Turkey that he 
was able to effect this. Eighteen years, howiever, elapsed 
before he felt strong enough to grapple with these foes of 
his dynasty and State. 

Apart from this great achievement, he showed inflexible 
firmness and courage in the great difficulties which con- 
fronted him, and almost alone he bore the burden of the 
State for thirty -one years of unparalleled peril, and often 
of most serious disaster. It will be seen that, in spite of 
these high qualities, and in spite of the r'eform of his army, 
the losses of territory to his Empire were very serious. In 
Greece, the Morea, and the provinces north of the Gulf of 
Corinth up to the frontier of Thessaly, acquired complete 
independence under the guarantee of the thi-ee Great Powers 
of Europe. Egypt, Moldavia and Wallachia, and Serbia 
attained almost similar independence, subject only to 
the nominal suzerainty of the Sultan of Turkey and the 
payment of fixed tributes. They no longer added to the real 
strength of the Empire. On the other hand, he completely 
destroyed the power of the rebellious Pashas of Janina, 
Widdin, Bagdad, and Acre, and through Mehemet Ali, the 
Pasha of Egypt, he subdued the Wahabees and recovered 
the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. 

It should be added that Mahmoud, unlike so many of 
his predecessors, devoted his life to affairs of his State 


rather than to his harem. He committed at times acts of 
great cruelty. He put to death his brother Mustapha and 
Mustapha's only son, and caused to be drowned in the 
Bosphorus four ladies of Mustapha's harem who were 
enceinte. He had no scruple in directing^ the secret 
assassination of any persons whom he suspected of har- 
bouring schemes in opposition to his own. He authorized 
the perpetration of ruthless massacres of Greeks in all parts 
of his Empire at the inception of the revolution in Greece. 
But tliese were acts of policy in accord with the traditions 
of his family, approved by public opinion of the Turks, by 
whom terrorism and massacre were recognized as justifiable 
methods of government. The murder of his relatives left 
him the sole survivor of the Othman race, a position which 
secured him from intrigues against his throne by the 

The most serious of the losses to the Empire in 
Mahmoud's reign was that of Egypt, for it was a Moslem 
country, and though for many years previously the hold 
on it by the Ottoman Porte had been slender, and the 
Mamelukes had been able, as a rule, to impose their will 
and to govern the province, yet the Porte could in the main 
rely on it for support to the Empire in times of emergency. 
It will be well, therefore, to explain the changes effected 
in Egypt, for it wiU be seen that they had a great bearing 
on events in other parts of the Ottoman Empire. 

Mehemet Ali, who effected the virtual independence of 
Egypt, subject to the nominal suzerainty of the Sultan, 
was the most remarkable man that the Mahommedan world 
had produced in modern times. The son of an Albanian 
Moslem fisherman and small landowner at Kavala, on the 
borders of Thrace and Macedonia, he was left a penniless 
orphan, and was brought up as a dependent in the house- 
hold of the chief magistrate of the district, who was a 
distant relative. He never learnt to read or write. He 
said of himself in later years that the only books he ever 
read were men's faces, and that he seldom made a mistake 
in them. When the French invaded E.s^^ypt under General 
Bonaparte, Mehemet Ali was sent in defence of it with a 
band of three hundred Albanians, as one of their junior 
officers, and before long, on the return home of the com- 
manding officer, contrived to step into his place. When 
the Turkish army was driven into the sea at Aboukir in 



1794 by Napoleon, he was saved from drowning by a 
boat from the British admiral's ship. Later he was put 
in command of all the Albanians employed in Egypt, and 
was attached for a time to the British army. 

After the departure of the British from Egypt, conflict 
arose between the Turks and the Mamelukes for the control 
of the government. Mehemet at first sided with the Mame- 
lukes, but later he threw them over in favour of the 
Albanians in the service of the Turks. When the British 
Government sent its futile expedition to Egypt in 1808, 
Mehemet was chiefly concerned in opposing it. He was 
in command at Rosetta when a great number of British 
soldiers were slain, and a few days later he entered Cairo in 
triumph through an avenue of British heads stuck on pikes. 
Thenceforth he rapidly rose in influence and position, and 
at the age of thirty-five was the most powerful man in 
Egypt, and was able to instal himself as Pasha. He was 
harassed and opposed by the Mamelukes. He determined 
to get rid of them. He invited about five hundred of their 
leading men to a friendly conference at the citadel of Cairo. 
After entertaining them at a sumptuous repast, he ordered 
the gates to be shut, and had them all shot down in 
the narrow street of the citadel. A single man only of 
them survived by leaping his horse from the wall of the 
citadel, a height of 30 feet. This was followed by a 
slaughter of nearly all the Mamelukes in the country. 
Mehemet in this set the example which was followed a 
few years later by Sultan Mahmoud in suppressing the 

Thenceforward Mehemet was undisputed ruler of Egypt. 
He had a genius for organization and government. 
Though cruel and vindictive, and even bloodthirsty, as 
regards his enemies and against evildoers of all kinds, 
he had a keen sense of justice, and a determination to 
mete it out equally, and without favour, to the people of 
all sects and races. He brought about peace and order 
and prosperity such as Egypt had never of late years 
enjoyed. He was ambitious to extend his rule. He 
organized for this purpose, and for asserting himself against 
the Porte, an army of a hundred thousand men raised by 
conscription and armed and drilled on the model of 
European armies, with the aid of French and Italian officers 
who had served under Napoleon. He also built a power- 


ful fleet with the help of French naval constructors. He 
soon proved the value of his new army by putting down 
a revolt in Arabia of the Wahabees. He did this, on 
behalf of, and in the name of the Sultan. He also con- 
quered the oasis of Senaar and extended the rule of 
Egypt into the Sudan. It will be seen that later, in 
1825 and 1826, he sent his army and navy in support of 
the Sultan to the Morea for the purpose of putting an 
end to the revolution in Greece, which the Sultan had been 
unable to cope with. Before dealing with this, however, it 
will be well to revert to Mahmoud and explain the course 
of events which compelled him to call in aid Mehemet 
Ah's army. 

One of the earliest matters which Mahmoud had to deal 
with was that of Serbia. The treaty of Bucharest had left 
that province in a very unsettled and ambiguous position. 
The Turks, under its terms, were permitted to garrison 
Belgrade and other fortresses, and were to concede to 
the Serbians self-government, but there was no adequate 
guarantee for this. The Serbians, who were in possession 
of the fortresses, refused to give them up to the Turks 
until a scheme of self-government was arranged. The 
Porte insisted on immediate surrender. Subsequent pro- 
ceedings showed that there was no intention to give effective 
self-government to the Serbians. The Sultan in 18 13 sent 
an army to enforce his claims. Kara George, in most 
strange contrast to his previous heroic action, lost courage 
on this occasion. After burying the treasure which he had 
amassed as virtual ruler of Serbia, he fled the country and 
sought refuge with the Austrians. In so doing he passed 
out of the history of his country, save that when, some years 
later, he thought he might safely return to Serbia, he was 
arrested and shot as a traitor. 

After this defection Serbia seemed to be at the mercy 
of the Turks, and the greater part of it was occupied 
by them. But at the moment of its great peril another 
national patriot and hero rose to the front in the person of 
Milosch Obrenowitch, who, much as Kara George had done 
a few years previously, took the lead in rousing the Christian 
population to resistance, and in leading^ them to victory. He 
succeeded in driving the Turks from all the country districts 
and shutting them up in the fortresses. Mahmoud then 
sent another army with the object of relieving! the Turks in 


the Serbian fortresses and subduing the rebels. The army, 
however, halted on the frontier, and negotiations ensued 
which lasted for some years without any result. The 
Sultan, it seems, was unwilling, in view of the numerous 
other difficulties pending in his Empire, to risk the 
loss of an army in a guerrilla war in the mountains of 

The most serious of Mahmoud's other difficulties at this 
period was the insurrection of the Greeks in 1821. Never 
was rebellion of a subject race more justifiable. Nowhere 
throughout the Ottoman Empire were the results of its 
rule more degrading and intolerable than in Greece. It 
served none of the purposes for which governments exist. 
Life and property and honour were without security, and 
justice had degenerated into the practice of selhng injustice 
to the highest bidder. 

The condition of the Greek population was infinitely 
worse than that of their compatriots in most other parts of 
the Empire. In Constantinople the Greeks were a wealthy 
community. They had a large share in the administration 
of the Empire. The Porte, in fact, could not do without 
them. Their religion was under the special protection 
accorded to it by Mahomet the Conqueror. The trade of 
the Empire was largely in their hands. At Smyrna, 
Salonika, and many other cities, there were large numbers 
of Greeks who had enjoyed facilities of trade and had 
accumulated wealth. Mahmoud, like many of his pre- 
decessors, recognized that, by largely contributing to taxes, 
these people were a source of wealth to his Government, 
and was not disposed to adopt any measure proposed by 
the more fanatical of Moslems to extirpate them or to drive 
them into rebellion. Not a few' of the islands of the 
archipelago, such as Scios and Psara, were practically 
allowed to govern themselves, and life there was as well- 
ordered as in any part of Europe. 

It was very different with Greece on the mainland. It 
seems to have been the policy of the Porte to prevent its 
becoming a populous and wealthy country, with a view to 
keeping it under close subjection. Much of its land was 
in the ownership of Moslems, a majority of whom were 
Greeks by race, who had adopted Islam in order to save 
their property. They were a fanatical class who were quite 
as oppressive to the rayas, the cultivators of the soil, as 

MAHMOUD 11 261 

were those of pure Turkish descent. The Ottoman Govern- 
ment presented itself to the Greeks only as an engine 
to extract taxes, and the pashas who were sent to 
govern them thought only how best and most quickly to 
fill their pockets, knowing that their tenure of office would 
be very short. The people there compared their condition 
with that of the self-governing communities pi Scio and 
other islands. Education had spread to some extent in 
spite of the neglect of the Government. Wealthy Greeks 
from other districts had endowed some schools and colleges. 
With education came the study of the past history of Greece 
and the ambition to renew its nationaUty and greatness. 
For some time past secret societies such as the Hetairia, 
promoted in the first instance by the Greeks of Odessa, 
had been spreading their influence in Greece, and had laid 
the seeds of revolution. 

The insurrection in Greece was not only based on 
political and racial ideals, it was also an agrarian war, the 
revolt of cultivators of the soil against their feudal 
oppressors. This gave to the outbreak in rural districts 
its intensely persistent, passionate, and cruel attributes. 

The revolution broke out in the Morea at the beginning 
of April 1 82 1, and soon spread over the whole of its 
country districts. It was estimated that at that time there 
were twenty thousand Moslems thinly spread in the country 
districts, most of them of Greek race, feudal lords of the 
soil and oppressors of the rayas. Nearly the whole of these 
Moslems were now brutally murdered, without distinction of 
age or sex. The survivors fled into the fortresses, which 
were garrisoned by Turks. These fortresses were speedily 
invested by the Greeks, and within three months nearly all 
of them were compelled to surrender. In most cases capitu- 
lations were agreed to on the terms that lives would be 
respected, but in no case were these terms adhered to. The 
garrisons and the Turkish inhabitants and the refugees 
from the country districts who had gathered there were 
brutally murdered. 

The first encounter between the Turkish soldiers and the 
Greeks that could be called a battle was at Valtetsi, in the 
neighbourhood of TripoHtza, the capital of the Morea. 
Three thousand Greek peasants there defeated five thousand 
Turks, with a loss of four hundred Turks and a hundred 
and fifty Greeks. The battle destroyed the prestig'e of 


the Turks. It showed that they were no match for the 
insurgent Greek peasants. 

As a result of this victory, Navarino and Tripolitza fell 
into the hands of the Greek insurgents after short sieges. 
In both cases the garrisons capitulated on favourable terms 
for themselves and the inhabitants of the towns. In neither 
case were the terms observed. All the Moslem troops 
and inhabitants were ruthlessly massacred. At Tripolitza 
these numbered eight thousand, including women and 
children. " Greek historians," says Finlay in his History 
of Greece, " have recoiled from telling of these barbarities, 
while they have been loud in denouncing those of the 

When news of the massacres in the Morea arrived at 
Constantinople the greatest alarm and indignation arose. 
Bloody and ruthless reprisals ensued against the Greeks 
residing there. The Sultan set the example. He directed 
that many of the leading Greeks were to be imme- 
diately executed. The Greek Patriarch was hanged by 
his order at the gate of the episcopal residence. The feiva 
authorizing this was pinned to his body. There was no 
reason to believe that the Patriarch was implicated in thie 
outbreak in Greece. Four other bishops met the same 
fate. Thousands of Greeks of inferior position feD. victims 
to the fury of the people at the capital and at many other 
cities, such as Smyrna and Salonika, and in Cyprus. The 
Sultan took no steps to restrain these horrors. Women 
and children equally with men were murdered. Their houses 
were burnt, their property was pillaged. It was estimated 
that the number of Greeks thus massacred was not short of 
the number of Moslems slaughtered in Greece at the out- 
break of the revolution. Thenceforth Greeks and Turks 
emulated one another in their acts of barbarity. The Turks 
had always been bloodthirsty when their passions and fears 
were roused, and they now had terrible wrongs to avenge. 
The Greeks had been de^aded by long oppression, and 
were little better than Turks. Both people evidently thought 
that the results of their cruelties were proof of the wisdom 
of inflicting them. The Greeks, by extirpating' the Moslems 
in the Morea, cleared the country, once for all, of their 
oppressors and effected that separation of the two races 
which, it will be seen later, the Great Powers of Europe 
thought desirable, though they hoped to attain it by peace- 


ful expropriation and indemnity. The Turks claimed that 
their severities checked the spread of the revolution, and 
compelled one half of the Greek people living within their 
midst to submit to Ottoman rule. 

It has been shown that the revolution broke out in the 
Morea. Within a few months the whole of that country 
was cleared of Ottoman troops and of Moslem inhabitants. 
The outbreak extended to most of the islands of the archi- 
pelago, where the Greeks predominated, where there was 
less admixture of Slav blood than on the mainland, and 
where the traditions of a long-past national existence and 
of high civilization survived in a stronger form. In 
spite of their greater prosperity, due to milder treatment 
at the hands of the Turks, they were ardently in favour of 
independence. It was in the islands that the majority 
of Greek merchant vessels were owned. They numbered 
between four and five hundred, and were manned by twelve 
thousand Greek sailors. An active war fleet was formed out 
of these vessels and sailors. They frequently met and 
defeated the Turkish fleet. They made special use of fire 
ships, and blew up or burnt many of the Turkish vessels 
and caused the greatest alarm to the Turkish sailors. 

In the course of the four years 182 1-4, the Turks w'ere 
generally worsted by the Greek insurgents on land and 
sea. Not only the Morea, but the parts of Greece north of 
the Gulf of Corinth up to the frontier of Thessaly, includ- 
ing Athens — then reduced to a squalid, third-rate town— 
and the islands of the archipelago, achieved a practical 
independence. A national government and a representative 
assembly were constituted. The outbreak in Greece roused 
the sympathies of great numbers of persons in Western 
Europe, especially in England and France. In spite of this, 
the Governments of these countries for long held aloof and 
discouraged the rebellion, not wishing to see Turkey 
weakened as against Russia. Lord Byron was an enthusiast 
for the Greeks, and in 1824 landed at Missolonghi and 
joined their army. But it cannot be said that he effected 
much during the short time he survived there. He was 
evidently disillusioned, like so many other Philhellenes who 
joined the Greeks, by the discords, intrigues, and cor- 
ruption of their leaders. But he never lost faith in their 
future. He confidently predicted that the Greek nation 
would prove itself worthy of freedom. He gave his life 


to the cause. He died of malarial fever within a few 
weeks of landing at this unhealthy spot. This did much 
to arouse the interest of Europe and to promote its inter- 
vention on behalf of the Greeks. 

After four years of futile efforts to stamp out the Greek 
revolution, it became clear to Sultan Mahmoud that his 
army, as then constituted, was unequal to the task. He 
was much impressed by the success of Mehemet Ali in 
Egypt in creating an army armed and drilled in the manner 
of European armies. In 1824, he called on this great 
vassal to aid in the reconquest of Greece by sending his 
new army and fleet there. Mehemet consented to do so, 
but only on the promise of the Sultan that Syria, Damascus, 
and Crete, would be added to his Pashalic. He sent his 
fleet to co-operate with that of the Sultan on the coast of 
the Morea. It sailed from Alexandria on July 25, 1824, 
with an army of ten thousand infantry and a thousand 
cavalry, under command of Ibrahim Pasha, the son of 
Mehemet Ali. They were landed at Modon and marched 
thence to Navarino. That fortress was garrisoned by six- 
teen hundred Greeks. The flower of the Greek army of 
seven thousand men advanced to relieve the fortress. 
Ibrahim with three thousand men attacked and utterly 
defeated them. The Greeks fled in wild confusion. This 
battle was proof that the best Greek troops were unable 
to encounter the well-disciplined Egyptians in a pitched 

After the capture of Navarino, Ibrahim continued his 
reconquest of Greece with uniform success. The Greeks 
were exhausted by their long struggle against the Turks. 
They could offer but a very feeble resistance to this new 
and far more effective enemy. In April, 1826, the Egyptian 
army captured Missolonghi, causing a loss to the Greeks 
of four thousand men. Thence he gradually subdued the 
whole of the Morea. Later the cities of Corinth and 
Athens fell into the hands of the Turks, and on M,ay 6, 1827, 
at a battle at Phalerum, in the neighbourhood of this last 
city, Reschid Pasha, in command of an Albanian army, 
defeated and dispersed the last army of the Greeks then 
in the field. The Greek Government was forced to remove 
from the mainland to the island of Poros. The vv'hole of 
Greece then fell into anarchy. Though the Greek fleet con- 
tinued to make a gallant stand against the combined 


Turkish and Egyptian fleets, it was not strong enough to 
maintain a mastery at sea and to cut off the communication 
between Ibrahim's army and its base in Egypt. It is 
certain that if the Great Powers of Europe had not inter- 
vened, Greece would have been completely subdued, and 
Turkish rule would have been reinstated there. Ibrahim 
threatened to remove the whole Greek population and sell 
them into slavery, and to replace them by Egyptians jand 

Meanwhile the success of Ibrahim's army, armed and 
disciplined on the model of European armies, as compared 
with the failure in previous campaigns in Greece of the 
ill-discipHned and badly armed troops of Turkey, produced 
a great impression at Constantinople. Mahmoud now found 
that his long -cherished project for the reform of the army 
was supported almost unanimously by the Divan and by 
the whole of the ulemas. He determined, therefore, to 
carry it into effect, and to suppress his mortal foes, the 
Janissaries. He had been long engaged in making pre- 
parations for a decisive issue with these turbulent troops. 
He had formed a body of fourteen thousand artillerymen, 
drilled and armed on the new model, and on whom he could 
thoroughly rely for support. His predecessor, Selim, had 
enlisted a small body of infantry on the same model. The 
Agha of the Janissaries, Hussein Pasha, was devoted to 
him, as was also the Mufti. The Sultan thereupon, in May 
1826, gave orders to the Janissaries that one -fourth of them 
were to be incorporated in the new corps of infantry. The 
Janissaries refused. They marched in a body, on June 14th, 
to the palace, intent on overawing the Sultan, as they had 
so often done in the past. They met their master on this 
occasion. The Sultan summoned the artillery to his support. 
He unfolded the sacred banner and directed their action. 
They pounded the Janissaries with cannon shot in the 
streets leading to the palace and drove them back to their 
barracks with heavy loss. The guns were then concentrated 
on the barracks and set fire to them. No quarter was 
given. The Janissaries perished either by gun fire or in 
the burning barracks. Four thousand of them were dis- 
posed of in this holocaust. The Sultan ruthlessly followed 
up his victory. Many more thousands of the Janis- 
saries were put to death in Constantinople and in other 
cities of the Empire. The force was entirely destroyed. Its 


very name was erased from official records. Mahmoud had 
obtained an overwhelming victory. His new army was 
at once increased to forty -five thousand men, exclusive of 
his artillery, with the intention of gradually raising it to 
two hundred thousand. It was recruited, however, wholly 
from the Moslem population. The Christians were ex- 
cluded from its ranks as rigidly as under the old regime. 
There can be no doubt that if time had been allowied to 
Mahmoud to complete the number and efficiency of this 
new army, the Ottoman Empire would again have become 
a most formidable military Power. The Sultan did much 
more to centralize power in himself. He abolished the 
military feudal system, which had become a gross abuse. 
The beys were everywhere suppressed, or were allowed to 
draw their incomes only for the term of their lives. The 
rents hitherto paid to these persons were in the future to be 
paid directly to the State. 

Mahmoud also effected many other important reforms. 
He abolished the Court of Confiscations, which had provided 
a revenue to the State out of property of persons con- 
demned to death or exile, and which had become a great 
abuse. He deprived pashas of their power to put people 
to death at their wiU without trial. He enacted that no 
one should in future be so dealt with without formal trial 
and the right of appeal. He put the vast Vacouf property 
(dedicated to Islam) under State management. He 
prohibited the wearing of turbans and made the use of the 
fez universal in his Empire. He set the example of cloth- 
ing himself after the European fashion. He entertained 
ambassadors and their wives and others at his palace as 
other sovereigns did. He contemplated great reforms in 
favour of his Christian subjects, but it will be seen that the 
task was left incomplete for his successors. 

At this point of his career Mahmoud had attained un- 
qualified success. He had succeeded in putting down 
all the rebellious pashas, such as Ali of Janina and others. 
Mehemet Ali of Egypt had recognized the supremacy of 
the Sultan by sending his army and navy to suppress the 
Greek rebellion. Greece had been practically reconquered. 
The Greeks in other parts of the Empire had been terrorized 
into submission. Insurrection in Moldavia and Wallachia 
had been suppressed. The Serbian fortresses were in his 
hands. Above aU, the Janissaries, who had proved to 

MAHMOUD n 267 

be so useless as a military force and who had murdered two 
of his predecessors and deposed many others, w^ere sup- 
pressed. He had carried out great reforms in his Empire. 
Mahmoud had effected all this by his own inflexible firm- 
ness and by statesmanship of a high order, not unmixed 
with cruelty and cunning. 

Two events now occurred which materially affected the 
position of Turkey, and deprived Mahmoud of the fruits 
of his ably devised policy. The one was the death of 
Alexander, the Emperor of Russia, the other the decision 
of the British Government to intervene on behalf of Greece. 
Alexander for some years past had been on the horns of a 
dilemma. He had a deep sympathy for the subjects of 
the Ottoman Empire who were members of the Greek 
Church, and a gteat aversion to Turkish rule. But he also 
hated and feared revolution. He believed in the divine 
right of rulers, however bad, and would take no step to 
support the revolt of their subjects, however oppressive 
their government. He feared that a dangerous precedent 
might be extended to his own Empire. This conflict of 
views paralysed his action. He gave no assistance to 
the Greek insurgents. So long as he lived there was 
little hope that Greece would recover its independence. 
He died late in 1825, and was succeeded by his brother, 
Nicholas, a much younger and more vigorous man, and a 
truer exponent of Russian ideals. The new Czar had no 
objection to insurrection if it was not directed against his 
own government. He hated the Turks and wished to drive 
them out of Europe much more than he sympathized with 
the Greeks. He had many other grounds of complaint 
against the Porte. It has also been suggested that he 
wished to come to conclusions with it before time had 
been given for perfecting his new army. 

As regards Great Britain, its Government had not 
originally sympathized with the Greek revolution, but the 
reverse. But public opinion, outraged by the barbarities 
which had been committed, had produced an influence on 
it, and Mr. Canning, the Foreign Secretary, was personally 
very favourable to the cause of Greece. The Government 
as a whole held the view that the continuance of disorder 
in Greece was a menace to the peace of Euriope. They 
had no wish for the extension of Russia at the expense of 
Turkey. They thought that if Greece were not pacified 


Russia would intervene, and would not confine its claim to 
the settlement of the Greek claims, but would aim at other 
conquests. They decided, therefore, to make an effort to 
settle the Greek question on the basis of autonomy, subject to 
the suzerainty of the Sultan. In this view the Cabinet sent 
the Duke of Wellington to St. Petersburg in 1826 to 
negotiate with the Czar. He effected an arrangement which 
was later embodied in the treaty of London of July 6, 1827, 
between the three Powers, Great Britain, Russia, and 
France, for the pacification of Greece. Under the terms 
of this treaty it was agreed, with a view to bringing about 
a reconciliation between the Ottoman Porte and the Greeks, 
to offer mediation, and to demand an immediate armistice 
as a preliminary to the opening of a negotiation. 

Under the arrangement to be proposed to the Ottoman 
Porte, Greece was to be granted complete autonomy, under 
the suzerainty of the Sultan, and was to pay a fixed annual 
tribute. It was to be governed by authorities whom its 
people were to nominate. In order to bring about a 
complete separation between the individuals of the two 
nations and to prevent the coUisioins resulting from a long 
struggle, the Greeks were to enter upon possession of all 
Turkish property, either on the continent or in the isles of 
Greece, on condition of indemnifying the former proprietors 
by the payment of an annual sum to be added to the tribute. 
By an additional secret article it was provided that " if, within 
one month, the Ottoman Porte did not agree to accept the 
mediation of the three Powers and consent to an armistice, 
the signatories of the treaty would find the necessity for 
an approximation with the Greeks by entering into relations 
with them, and would employ all their means for the 
accomplishment of the objects of the treaty without, how- 
ever, taking any part in the hostihties between the two 
contending parties." 

In accordance with this treaty^ a demand was made on 
the Porte, by the ambassadors of the three Powers, for an 
armistice, and for a pacification of Greece on the basis 
above described. The Porte indignantly refused to enter- 
tain the proposed mediation. It denied the right of the 
Powers to intervene as regards its Greek subjects. In a 
manifesto to its own people, the Porte justified its refusal 
to mediate on the proposed basis. It denied that the 
Greeks had any cause for complaint against the Ottoman 


rule. "It is notorious," it said, " that these Greeks have 
been treated like Mussulmans in every respect and as to 
everything which regards their property, their personal 
security, and the defence of their homes, and that they have 
been loaded with benefits by the present Sultan." 

The negotiations between the Porte and the ambassadors 
were protracted by the former, in order that an Egyptian 
fleet, bringing large reinforcements to Ibrahim in Greece, 
might arrive at Navarino before the conclusion of them. 
After the final rejection of the proposals of the ambassadors, 
instructions were given to the combined fleet of the three 
Powers to effett a blockade of the Greek ports, and to 
prevent the entrance or departure of any Turkish or 
Egyptian vessels of war. 

The combined fleet, under command of the British 
admiral. Sir Edward Codrington, thereupon took up a 
position outside the bay of Navarino. The admiral then 
entered into negotiations with the Turkish admiral and 
concluded an armistice on behalf of the Greeks. In spite 
of this, the Egyptian troops, under Ibrahim Pasha, con- 
tinued to ravage the Morea in the most cruel manner, 
devastating property, murdering the men, and carrying off 
the young women for sale as slaves in Egypt. As the 
winter was approaching, the British admiral thought it 
would be difficult to maintain his position outside the bay. 
He determined, therefore, to enter the bay with his fleet. 
The combined fleet consisted of ten vessels of the line, ten 
frigates and smaller vessels, with about twelve hundred 
guns. The Turko -Egyptian fleet consisted of five ships 
of the line, fifteen frigates, and sixty -two smaller vessels, 
armed with two thousand guns. It was anchored in a 
crescent facing the entrance of the bay. There were also 
batteries on shore commanding the entrance of the bay. 
The allied fleet entered the bay without opposition from 
these batteries and anchored in a line alongside of the 
Turkish and Egyptian vessels. 

It was obvious that the position was a most critical one, 
almost certain to lead to an armed conflict. The Turks 
fired the first gun and broke the armistice, whether inten- 
tionally, or not, is not quite clear. The challenge was 
taken up. There followed a fierce battle between the two 
fleets. In a few hours of this 20th of October, 1827, the 
Turko -Egyptian fleet was completely destroyed. With the 


exception of some of the smaller craft, all the vessels wiere 
sunk or burnt. Their crews had fought vaHantly, but they 
were no match for those of the alHed fleet. But their 
g^uns caused much loss of life and did much damage, and 
the British battleships, after the battle, were compelled to 
return to England for repairs. The batteries on shore 
did not begin to fire until the allied fleet had taken position. 
They might h^ve effected much more damage if they had 
fired on the fleet when entering the bay. A more complete 
destruction of a fleet had never occurred. 

This great victory gave no satisfaction to the British 
Government. The spirit of Canning" no longer inspired 
it. He had died since the initiation of the policy which 
inevitably led to this naval battle. On the meeting of the 
British Parliament, early in 1828, the Speech from the 
Throne referred to the battle in the following terms : ** His 
Majesty deeply laments that this conflict should have oc- 
curred with the naval force of our ancient ally. He still 
entertains a confident hope that this untoward event will 
not be followed by further hostilities." The Duke of 
Wellington, who was now Prime Minister, when challenged 
in the House of Lords as to the expression * untoward 
event,* said : — 

The Ottoman Empire was an essential part of the balance of power 
in Europe. Its preservation had been for many years an object to the 
whole of Europe. While he acquitted the British admiral of all blame, 
he pointed out that, under the treaty of London, one of the stipulations 
was that the operation was not to lead to hostilities. When, therefore, the 
operation under the treaty did lead to hostiUties, it certainly was an 
untoward event. 

It is difficult, however, to conceive how the Duke, who had 
negotiated the treaty with the Czar of Russia, could have 
supposed that, in the event of the Sultan not agreeing to 
the terms of mediation, the use of force against him could 
be avoided. I 

However that might have been, the destruction of the 
Ottoman fleet at Navarino was of momentous importance. 
It cut off the communication between Ibrahim Pasha and 
Egypt. It restored to Greece command of the sea in the 
archipelago. It assured the supremacy o'f the Russian fleet 
in the Black Sea. This last was of enormous value to the 
Russians in the war which soon broke out with Turkey. It 


facilitated the capture of Varna, and enabled th^ Russian 
army to advance across the Balkans and to threaten 

Ibrahim Pasha, finding' his position in the Morea un- 
tenable, entered into a convention with the British admiral 
under which he was permitted to withdraw the Egyptian 
army from Greece and embark it for Alexandria without 
molestation from the allied fleet. There remained in the 
Morea only the Turkish troops. They held most of the 
fortresses there. Later, a French army, under General 
Maison, was, by ag'reement with the allies, sent to the Morea. 
It soon cleared the whole country of the Turkish troops. 

Meanwhile, the Sultan at Constantinople, in spite of the 
destruction of his fleet at Navarino, stiU maintained an 
obstinate refusal to accede to the terms of the treaty of 
London. The ambassadors of England and France there- 
upon left the city. Diff"erences then beg'an to arise between 
the three aUied Powers. The Emperor of Russia pro- 
posed to employ coercive measures against Turkey, and 
for this purpose to occupy Moldavia and Wallachia. 
England and France rejected the proposal. They wished 
to preserve the Ottoman Empire as well as to secure the 
independence of Greece. But the Greek question was only 
one of the complaints of Russia ag'ainst Turkey. It had 
also grave reasons to complain that the treaty of Bucharest 
and the later treaty of Akermann of 1826, confirming and 
extending it, were disregarded by the Porte, which still 
occupied Moldavia, Wallachia, and Serbia by its armies. 
The Sultan, in a manifesto to his own people, had publicly 
announced that he had entered into the treaty of Akermann 
with the full intention of not being' bound by its terms, and 
that he regarded Russia as his hereditary foe. 

On April 26, 1828, Russia declared war against Turkey. 
England and France found themselves in a position when 
they could not object, for the Porte still refused their 
demands as regards Greece. They had joined with Rulssia 
in destroying the Turkish fleet. They were now compelled 
to stand by while the Russians invaded Turkey. The 
position, and still more the results of the war, showed 
what a grave error Mahmoud committed when he refused 
to agree to the scheme of the allied Powers for granting 
autonomy to Greece under the suzerainty of Turkey. If 
he had accepted, his fleet would have been intact. England 


and France would have been in a position to object to 
Russia's schemes. As it was, Greece secured an absolute 
independence, and Wallachia, Moldavia, and Serbia were 
soon, by the victories of Russia, to secure the status of 
complete autonomy which the Sultan had refused to 

The Emperor Nicholas, in nominal command of his army, 
crossed the Pruth on May 7, 1828. His force consisted of 
not more than sixty -five thousand men, a surprisingly small 
number for the greatest military Power in Europe to put 
into the field. It was necessary, however, to keep a large 
army in Poland, where an outbreak was expected. Another 
army was stationed in the Ukraine to watch Austria, who 
regarded the Russian attack on Turkey with suspicion and 
malevolence ; and a fourth army of thirty thousand men, 
under General Paskiewich, invaded Asia Minor from the 
Caucasus. With tlie main army it was hoped to cross 
the Balkans and to menace Constantinople. The Turks 
offered no resistance in Moldavia and Wallachia. But it 
was not till June 8th that the Russians were able to effect 
a crossing over the Danube. The Sultan, on his part, 
commenced the campaign under great disadvantages. His 
old army of Janissaries had recently been destroyed. The 
new army, equipped and drilled in the fashion of European 
armies, was very raw and ill -trained. It consisted of very 
young men, who were recruited with difficulty, often by 
compulsion, for the new service was very unpopular, and 
the older men could not be induced to join. It did not 
count more than forty -five thousand men, exclusive of the 
artillery. It was supplemented by irregulars from Asia, 
and the total force under arms was estimated at one hundred 
and eighty thousand men, of whom, after providing for 
the defence of Constantinople and the Dardanelles, for a 
reserve at Adrianople and for other demands on the Empire 
in Europe and Asia, there remained only fifty thousand 
men to oppose the Russians in Bulgaria, and to provide 
garrisons for the fortresses on the Danube and for Schumla 
and Varna. These garrisons, however, were supported by 
the armed Turkish inhabitants of the towns, who could 
be relied on for a vigorous resistance. The Turks iwere 
under the further disadvantage that the greater part of 
their fleet had been destroyed at Navarino. The Russians 
were, in consequence, completely masters in the Black Sea. 

MAHMOUD n 273 

They were able to send to the ^iigean archipelago another 
fleet, which "blockaded the Dardanelles. 

In spite of these difficulties, the Turks made an .un- 
expectedly vigorous defence against the Russian invasion in 
Europe. The campaign of 1828 was mainly one of sieges, 
where the Turkish soldiers, supported by Moslems of the 
fortified towns, fought to the best advantage behind walls 
and earthworks. They could make but a poor stand in the 
open against their better trained enemy. 

The Russians, after crossing the Danube, laid siege to 
Ibrail, the most important fortress on the lower stretch 
of the river, and which it was essentially necessary to 
capture before making an advance to Schumla. The 
garrison and inhabitants made a gallant resistance, and 
it was only after five weeks that it was compelled to sur- 
render, on June 17th. The Russian army was then divided 
into three parts — ^the one to attack Silistria, the capture of 
which was almost as necessary as that of Ibrail ; the second 
to besiege Varna ; the third and most important, under the 
Emperor, to march to Schumla. The attack on Silistria 
failed, and after some weeks the force employed against 
it marched in the direction of Schumla to support the 
Czar's army. Even with this addition it was found 
impossible to invest the fortified camp of the Turks behind 
Schumla, and, after a demonstration, it was compelled 
to hold a defensive position, in front of Schumla, while 
the Czar and a part of the army marched in support of 
the division before Varna. 

On August 1 8th the Czar arrived there with a reinforce- 
ment of nine thousand men, and the siege then commenced, 
while the Russian Black Sea fleet of eight ships of the 
line and three frigates, under command of Admiral Greig, 
joined in the attack from the sea. The Turks again made 
a desperate and prolonged defence, which might have been 
successful if it had not been that Jussuf Pasha, in 
command of the garrison, with five thousand of his men, 
traitorously deserted the city, on October 14th, and threw 
themselves on the mercy of the Czar. The remainder 
of the garrison, under the Capitan Pasha, refused to be 
a party to the surrender. It was said that the cause of 
this extraordinary act of treachery was that the Sultan, 
in pursuance of his policy of concentrating all power and 
authority in himself, had been persuaded by an intrigue 



to confiscate the property of Jussuf, w'ho was one of the few 
large landowners in Turkey, while the owner was gallantly 
fighting the enemy at Varna. However that may be, the 
remaining garrison was soon compelled to capitulate, and 
this most important stronghold fell into the hands of the 
Russians. Without it no advance could possibly have been 
made across the Balkans. 

The campaign of 1828 came to an end with the surrender 
of Varna. Though the Russians had been able to capture 
two of the four fortresses which barred their way to the 
Balkans, the campaign had not been withoiut success to 
the Turks. They had shown unexpected powers of re- 
sistance, and had prevented for a year the achievement 
of the main object of the Russians — their advance to Con- 
stantinople. The losses of the Russians had been very 
great, not only in the sieges, but by disease, which dogged 
their armies as usual. 

Baron von Moltke, the German general, who, at the 
invitation of the Sultan, was with the Turkish headquarters 
during this war, writes of the Russian and Turkish troops 
in his remarkable history of it : — 

The faults of the Russian Staff were atoned for by the innate excellence 
of the Russian troops. The self-sacrificing obedience of the commanders, 
the steadiness of the common soldiers, their power of endurance and 
unshaken bravery in times of danger, were the qualities that enabled 
them to avert the dangers of their position before Schumla and to hold 
the Turks in check, and to make up for all deficiencies and overcome all 
resistance at Varna.* 

Of the Turks he adds : — ! 

We cannot say much for the skill of the Turkish commanders, but the 
conduct of the Turks, from the highest officers to the last soldier at 
the storming of Ibrail, their courage and steadiness in the mines and 
trenches before Varna, were far above all praise. 

In Asia the Turks had not done so well. General 
Paskiewich was able to defeat the army in front of him 
and to capture the important stronghold of Kars and its 
adjoining district. 

The campaign of 1829 began late. It was not till the 
middle of May that the Russian army again took the field, 

* Moltke, p. 257. 


not on this occasion under the Czar, but under General 
Diebitsch, who proved to be a most able general and 
diplomatist. The army was again most inadequate for 
the campaign which was in contemplation — namely, the 
crossing of the Balkans and an advance to Constantinople. 
It consisted of no more than sixty -eight thousand men, a 
force which, in these days, eighty -eight years later, would 
count for little or nothing. It was thought necessary, as a 
condition precedent to any advance, to capture Silistria. The 
siege was commenced on May 17, 1829. The Russian 
force detailed for this was not more than fourteen thousand 
men. The Turks who defended it were twenty -one thousand 
in number, including eight thousand armed inhabitants. 
In spite of this disparity of numbers, the town was captured 
after a siege of forty -four days, on July 26th, at a loss 
to the Russians of two thousand five hundred men. 

In the meantime Diebitsch had advanced with the main 
army in the direction of Schumla. Reschid Pasha, who 
had replaced Hussein Pasha as Grand Vizier and Seraskier, 
issued from Schumla with forty thousand men, and on 
June 1 8th a great battle took place at Kulewtska. The 
Turks were utterly defeated by a very inferior force of 
Russians. They had begun the battle with an impetuous 
charge, but they could not sustain it against the serried 
ranks of the Russian veterans. Some ammunition wagons 
exploded and, as often happened with the Turks, a wild 
panic ensued. They fled from the field of battle and 
dispersed in all directions. All their artillery fell into the 
hands of the Russians. Reschid escaped at the head of 
six hundred men and found his way to Schumla, 'where 
there were ten thousand Turks, and where a large 
number of fugitives from the battle eventually found 
refuge. This victory at Kulewtska had far-reaching effects. 
It was the first great battle in which the new troops of 
Mahmoud were tested. It showed that the Russian soldiers 
had an overwhelming superiority. 

Silistria fell on July 13th. The Russians who had been 
engaged in the siege then joined Diebitsch before Schumla. 
The general thereupon decided on the bold and even 
perilous course of crossing the Balkans, without previously 
capturing Schumla and its army. Leaving ten thousand 
men to mask that fortress, where a much greater force 
of Turks was now assembled, consisting largely of men 


demoralized by the recent defeat, Diebitsch commenced 
his march with such secrecy that for some days the Turks 
were not aware of it. Reschid Pasha, expecting an attack 
on Schumla, and thinking his force insufficient for its 
defence, had called in the various corps who were posted 
for the defence of the mountain passes. Diebitsch there- 
fore met with no opposition. He crossed the mountains 
in nine days of forced marches fraught with great hard- 
ship to his troops. When south of the mountain range, 
he deflected his route to the Black Sea and got into com- 
munication with the Russian fleet, under Admiral Greig, 
which assisted in the capture of Bourgas and other ports 
along the coast, and afforded supplies to Diebitsch's army. 

Three battles were fought south of the mountains, at 
Aidos, Karnabad and Slivno, where small divisions of Turks 
were defeated and dispersed. After three weeks from 
crossing the Balkans, Diebitsch arrived in front of 
Adrianople, a city of eighty thousand inhabitants, with a 
garrison of ten thousand men. His army was by this time 
reduced to less than twenty thousand men. Its appearance 
before Adrianople caused wild panic. Never before had 
a hostile army crossed the southern range of the Balkans. 
It was thought to be impossible. It was confidently believed 
that the Russian army numbered over one hundred thousand 
men. The city and its garrison surrendered without making 
a show of fight. Everywhere on its route through Bulgaria 
the Christian raya population had received the invaders 
with acclamation and the Turks had thrown away their 
arms and fled. The campaign of 1829 in Asia had been 
almost equally disastrous to the Turks. Paskiewich had 
defeated them in a pitched battle and had captured Erze- 
roum. He was now approaching Trebizondi, after dispersing 
an army on the way. 

When news reached Constantinople of the crossing of 
the Balkans and the capture of Adrianople, there was con- 
sternation and dismay among Turks of all classes. The 
Sultan almost alone maintained his presence of mind. He 
issued a proclamation calling on all the Turks in the city 
to join in its defence. He announced his intention to 
take command in person. The sacred banner of the Prophet 
was unfurled. But when, at the first review of the forces, 
the Sultan appeared in a carriage and not on horseback, 
this " unheard of and indecorous innovation " chilled the 


enthusiasm of the volunteers, and undid the g'ood which 
was expected from his action. 

There was no great zeal for the defence of the capital. 
The chief ministers of the Porte were unanimous in 
advising the Sultan to sue for terms of peace. They were 
quite ignorant of the weakness of the Russian army. They 
beUeved the Stories that more than a hundred thousand men 
were advancing on the capital. There were no troops 
at Constantinople, they said, able to meet this army. The 
ambassadors of England and France, who had recently 
returned to Constantinople, at the invitation of the Sultan, 
backed up the ministers, and urgently advised him to come 
to terms with the enemy. We now know that all this 
advice and these alarms were founded on false informa- 
tion and that there was no real justification for them. 
In fact, the real position of the Russian army was one 
of extreme danger. It had suffered great losses on the 
battlefields and from the hardships of the forced marches, 
and was also being decimated by disease. There was 
no possibility of its being reinforced. Retreat across the 
Balkans was almost impossible. The Turkish army at 
Schumla was now reinforced. On its flank there was an 
army of twenty thousand Albanians, under the rebellious 
Pasha of Scotra, who had refused aid to the Porte in the 
earlier part of the campaign, but who, now that the existence 
of the Empire was threatened, might confidently be expected 
to come to its aid. Advance to Constantinople might also 
be dangerous, if not impossible. It <was distant one 
hundred and forty miles. Its garrison of thirty thousand 
men, supplemented by fresh volunteers, might be relied on 
to meet the Russians, now reduced to much less than twenty 
thousand. These difiiculties of the Russian army, however, 
were not known to the Porte. 

In view of the strong pressure brought to bear lipon 
him, the Sultan, for once in his life, gave way, and agreed 
to send plenipotentaries to Adrianople to discuss terms of 
peace. Diebitsch well knew the danger of his position, 
and was anxious to make peace, but he maintained lan 
attitude of firmness and confidence. He was ready, he 
said, to discuss terms, but he was equally willing to advance 
with his army against the capital. Already a part of his 
army was pressed forward. It occupied a line from the 
Black Sea at Kilia to Enos in the archipelago— a distance 


of over one hundred miles, much too long for his weak 
force. It is recognized by Moltke and all military authori- 
ties that if the Porte had stood firm and had refused to 
agree to terms, Diebitsch could not have made good his 
threatened attack on the capital. In the history of war 
there has never been a more successful case of * bluff.' 
The Porte gave in to unreasoning and ill-informed fear, 
and on September 19th peace was concluded between the 
two Powers and the treaty of Adrianople was signed. 

It is certain [said Moltke] that this treaty released Diebitsch from a 
position as perilous as could well be conceived, and which, if prolonged 
for a few more days, might have caused him to be hurled down from 
the summit of victory to the lowest depth of ruin and destruction/ 

The terms of peace agreed to were moderate, so far as 
Russia itself was concerned, though very serious in their 
effect on the Ottoman Empire. The Czar had proclaimed 
at the outset of the war that he had no desire for territorial 
aggrandizement. He fully adhered to this promise. With 
two comparatively small exceptions, Russia gave up all 
the territory which it had conquered in the war, both in 
Europe and Asia. It retained only a small part of 
Moldavia which gave access to the Sulina mouth of 
the Danube, a position of great importance to it in the 
future. In Asia, Kars and Erzeroum were given back to 
Turkey. In Europe, the Truth continued to be the 
boundary of the two States. But Moldavia and Wallachia, 
though nominally restored to the Ottoman Empire, were 
practically freed from it. They were to enjoy complete 
autonomy. The Hospodars, in future, were to be appointed 
for life. The two States were to be allowed to raise 
armies independent of the Porte. The tribute payable in 
future was to be fixed, and could not be increased. 
Religious and commercial freedom were to be secured to 
them. The Sultan was to be their suzerain and nothing 
more. This meant practical independence. The same 
privileges were secured for Serbia, with the exception that 
the Porte was to be permitted to garrison the fortresses of 
Belgrade and Orsova. The Turks were required to depart 
from all other parts of the country. Silistria was to be 
returned to Turkey, but other fortresses on the Danube were 

^ Moltke, p. 443, 


to be razed. That river, therefore, ceased to b'e the first 
defence of the Turkish Empire to the north. An indemnity 
of eleven and a half million ducats, equal to five millions 
sterling, was to be paid by Turkey for the expenses of 
Russia in the war. The payment was to be spread over 
ten years, and the territory occupied by Russia was not to 
be wholly surrendered till this was effected. 

As regards Greece, the treaty embodied and made obli- 
gatory on the Sultan the provisions of the treaty of London 
of July, 1827, between the three Powers, and the further 
protocol between them of March 1829, which defined 
the future limits of Greece. Under the protocol, the 
boundary line was to run from the Gulf of Volo to the 
Gulf of Arta, so as to include the greater part of Thessaly. 
The country south of this was to be subject to a monarchical 
government, hereditary in a Christian prince to be chosen 
by the three Powers, with the consent of the Porte and 
under the suzerainty of the Sujtan, and with an administra- 
tion best calculated to ensure its religious and commercial 
liberty. This proposal had been submitted to the Sultan by 
the ambassadors of England and France on March 22, 1829. 
He had then obstinately refused to have anything to say to 
it. When the Russians had crossed the Balkans, the Sultan, 
in the hope of propitiating England and France, offered to 
the ambassadors to agree to an autonomous Greece [under 
a Hospodar, limited, however, to the Morea. This the 
ambassadors refused. The Porte, under the treaty with 
Russia, now agreed to their full demand. 

The Governments of England and France appear to have 
taken umbrage at the action of Russia in dealing with the 
subject of Greece in a separate treaty with the Porte. It 
was thought that the Czar wished to get all the credit of 
liberating Greece from Turkish rule.^ They therefore in- 
formed the Russian Government that the execution of the 
treaty of London of 1827 did not belong to the Czar alone, 
but was to be the work of the three Governments. In 
consequence of this a further conference took place in 
London, at which it was decided that the suzerainty of the 
Sultan over Greece was to be abolished, and complete inde- 
pendence was to be secured to the Greeks. They also came 
to the unfortunate decision that the line of boundary of the 
new kingdom was to be greatly restricted, and instead of 
running from the Gulf of Volo to the Gulf of Arta, was 


to be drawn from the mouth of the Archilous to ,the 
mouth of the Sperkius, thus excluding from the new king- 
dom the whole of Acarnania and the greater part of 
Thessaly, where the population was almost wholly Greek. 
They also decided that Crete was not to be included, but 
was to be restored to Turkish rule. Mr. Finlay says of 
this : " Diplomatic ignorance could not have traced a more 
unsuitable boundary." ^ 

The Sultan agreed to this new project. He probably 
preferred a smaller Greece with complete independence to 
a larger one with full autonomy, subject to his suzerainty. 
Greece was accordingly recalled into national existence with 
a greatly reduced area, leaving outside large districts with 
completely homogeneous Greek populations. This was 
fraught with grave difficulties in the future. One effect 
of it was that Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, who, later, 
as King of the Belgians, proved to be one of the most 
able rulers of his day, refused to accept the throne of 
Greece on the ground that its area was too restricted, 
and Otho, a son of the King of Bavaria, was selected by 
the Powers for the post, and proved to be a most incom- 
petent and reactionary ruler. It would seem that Lord 
Aberdeen, who was Minister of Foreign Affairs in England 
at the time, and who was mainly responsible for these 
changes, was anxious to restrict the kingdom of Greece to 
the smallest possible area. 

Reverting to the treaty of Adrianople, it is to be observed 
that while Russia acquired a very insignificant extension 
of territory, and was content with the prestige of having 
dictated its terms, and with having acquired a position such 
that it might insist on its behests to the Porte, as regards 
its Christian subjects, being obeyed in the future, Turkey 
lost very greatly. It was said that the Sultan, after signing 
the treaty, shut himself up in his palace at Therapia for 
weeks in gloomy despair. There was much cause for 
this. The treaty was a complete surrender of all that he 
had been contending for since his accession to the throne. 
It was humiliating to himself and his Turkish subjects. It 
was the inevitable precursor of much' that was to occur to 
other parts of his Empire. His grief and indignation must 
have been greatly aggravated when he came to know the 
real condition of the Russian army at Adrianople and to 

' Finlay, vii. 59. 


appreciate that, if he had stood firm in resisting the advice 
of his ministers and of the ambassadors, the Russian army 
would have been quite unable to make an advance ag'ainst 
Constantinople. This, however, should not lead us to 
forget the supreme error which Mahmoud committed 
in refusing to come to terms with the three Powers as 
regards Greece after the treaty of London. If in 1827 
the Sultan had been willing to make concessions in the 
direction of autonomy to Greece, it is nearly certain that 
there would have been no declaration of war on the part 
of Russia, and in the event of war he would not have 
been wanting in allies. His fleet would not have 'been 
destroyed at Navarino, and time would have been afforded 
to him to reorganize his army and to make it efTective 
against those of the Christian Powers. As it was, not only 
did he lose all real hold over Moldavia, Wallachia, and 
Serbia, not only did Greece gain its independence, but he 
was soon to lose all real authority in Egypt, a Moslem 
country, except the barren right of suzerainty of the Sultan 
and a fixed tribute in money. 

It has already been stated that when, in 1824, the Sultan 
invited the aid of the Pasha of Egypt to crush rebellion in 
Greece, Mehemet Ali only consented to lend his army and 
fleet on the express promise that the Pashalics of Syria, 
Damascus, Tripoli (in Asia), and Crete would be given 
to him, in addition to that of Egypt. But when in 1827, 
after the destruction of the Turko -Egyptian fleet at 
Navarino and the expulsion of the Egyptian army from 
the Morea, Mehemet Ali pressed for the performance of 
this promise, he met with a blank refusal, except as regards 
the island of Crete, the Pashalic of which alone was con- 
ferred on him. Mehemet was very indignant at this breach 
of promise, and determined to seize by force the provinces 
which he coveted. He set to work with great resolution 
to build another fleet, in place of that which had been 
burnt or sunk, and to improve and strengthen his army. 

By 1832 he completed these preparations for war. He 
then picked a quarrel with the Pasha of Syria and, pre- 
tending to make war against him and not against the 
Sultan, sent an army, under Ibrahim, across' the desert 
into Syria. It captured Gaza and Jerusalem without diffi- 
culty, and then marched to Acre, where the Egyptian fleet 
met it and co-operated in a successful attack on that 


fortress. After this success Ibrahim marched with his army 
to Aleppo and Damascus, defeating two Turkish armies. 
He then crossed the mountains into Asia Minor, and fought 
another great battle at Konia on October 27, 1832, and 
defeated a large Turkish army. He then marched to Brusa. 

These disasters caused the greatest alarm at Constan- 
tinople. There was no other Turkish army in the field 
capable of resisting the march of Ibrahim's army to the 
Bosphorus. In his peril the Sultan appealed to the British 
Government for aid against the Egyptians, offering a close 
alliance for the future. He met with a refusal, at the 
instance of Lord Palmerston, who did not then appear to 
value a Turkish alliance, though the British Ambassador 
at Constantinople, Sir Stratford Canning, strongly advised 
it. Mahmoud then appealed for aid to the Emperor of 
Russia, who gladly availed himself of the opportunity of 
increasing his influence in Turkey and of effecting a 
virtual protectorate over it. For a second time, within 
recent years, a close alliance was formed between the Czar 
and the Sultan, and in February, 1833, a Russian fleet 
issuing from Sebastopol conveyed an army to the Bosphorus 
for the defence of Constantinople. 

For a time the influence of Russia became predominant. 
None but Russians had access to the Sultan. Russian 
troops and sailors were seen everywhere, and Russian 
officers were employed to drill and command the Turkish 
battalions. This state of things caused great alarm to the 
British and French Governments. They were both con- 
cerned in preventing Russia obtaining possession or control 
of Constantinople. They felt it was necessary to stay 
the advance of Ibrahim's victorious army, which was the 
excuse for the presence of the Russians at Constantinople. 
They offered, therefore, to the Sultan that if he would 
insist on the withdrawal of the Russian army, from his capital, 
they would guarantee him against the further invasion of 
Mehemet All's army. France, though always very friendly 
to Mehemet Ali, and in favour of his independence as 
against the Sultan, had no wish to see Constantinople in 
the hands of Russia. 

By dint of great diplomatic pressure, in which Lord 
Palmerston took the leading part with the greatest ability, 
a double arrangement was effected. On the one hand, 
Mehemet Ali, perceiving that he w'o.uld be powerless to attacl^ 


Constantinople against the opposition of Russia, England, 
and France, was induced to come to terms with the Sultan. 
A convention was signed between them in 1833, and a 
firman was issued by the Porte under which Mehemet was 
confirmed as the Pasha, not only of Egypt, but of Syria, 
Damascus, Adana, Tripoli, and Crete, an immense acces- 
sion of dignity and power to him. The Sultan was to 
be suzerain and the Pashalics were conferred on Mehemet 
Ali only for his life, and there was no promise that they 
would be continued to his son Ibrahim or other descendants. 
The concession, however, as it stood, was most humiliating 
to the Sultan. On the other hand, Russia agreed with 
the Porte to withdraw its troops from Constantinople and 
the Bosphorus, but only on the promise, embodied in the 
treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, that Russian ships of war should 
have the privilege of passing through the Bosphorus and 
Dardanelles, at any time, without obtaining the consent of 
the Porte, a privilege which was to be denied to the ships 
of other Powers, unless with the previous consent of Russia. 
It also secured to Russia the right to send an aimy to 
the Bosphorus and land it there whenever the exigencies 
of the Turkish Empire made it expedient to do so. The 
firman to Mehemet Ali was dated May 5, 1833, and the 
treaty of Unkiar Skelessi was agreed to with Russia on 
July 8th of the same year. By these two measures, the 
result of a great diplomatic struggle, the menace of 
Mehemet Ali against Constantinople, which at one time 
seemed likely to involve all the Powers in Europe in war, 
was brought to an end. The Egyptian army was with- 
drawn into the provinces added to the Pashalic of Mehemet 
AH, and the Russian troops were recalled by the Czar from 

After this settlement, very favourable both to Russia 
and Egypt, but humiliating to Turkey, a period of a few 
years' repose was accorded to the Sultan, so far as his 
relations with the Emperor Nicholas and Mehemet Ali were 
concerned. But there were frequent internal troubles and 
outbreaks, which were put down by Mahmoud, not without 
some difficulty. Both Mahmoud and Mehemet Ali spent 
the interval in making preparations for another encounter. 
Mahmoud could not acquiesce in the virtual independence 
of so large a part of his Empire under Mehemet Ali. The .■ 
latter was determined to convert his Pashaljc into an here- 


ditary one and to attain virtual independence of the Porte. 
He had ambitions also to supplant Mahmoud as the head 
of the Ottoman Empire. The Sultan, during this time, 
employed a large number of Prussian officers, under Colonel 
von Moltke — later to become so famous in the Franco - 
German War of 1870 in command of the German army — 
to train his army, while Mehemet Ali again employed 
French officers for the same purpose. Five years elapsed 
before war again broke out between them. 

In 1838 Mehemet Ali, having completed all his arrange- 
ments for war with his suzerain, announced his intention 
to pay no more tribute in the future to the Porte. This 
amounted to a declaration of independence and a renuncia- 
tion of allegiance. Mahmoud, on his part, was determined 
to crush his rebellious vassal, and collected an army 
on the Euphrates for the invasion of Syria. The oppor- 
tunity seemed to be a favourable one, as the population 
of Syria was in revolt against Mehemet Ali, whose govern- 
ment had proved to be almost as oppressive and tyrannical 
as that of the Sultan. Early in 1839 Mahmoud declared 
war and gave directions to his army to invade Syria. 
He also fitted out a fleet, consisting of nine ships of the 
line and twenty-four smaller vessels, and directed it to pro- 
ceed to Syria and to co-operate with his army advancing 
from the Euphrates. 

Both these expeditions of the Porte came to grief. The 
army which invaded Syria met the Egyptians, again under 
command of Ibrahim, at Nazib on June 25, 1839. The two 
armies were about equal in number, each of them about 
forty thousand. The Turks were completely defeated. 
Many of their battalions deserted on the field of battle and 
went over to the enemy ; the remainder were routed and 
dispersed. Six thousand of them were killed and wounded ; 
ten thousand were taken prisoners. One hundred guns and 
great masses of stores fell into the hands of the Egyptians. 
The Turkish army in these parts ceased to exist. 

The great Turkish fleet had sailed from the Bosphorus 
on July 6th amid many popular demonstrations. It was 
under the command of the Capitan Pasha, Achmet, who 
proved to be a traitor. After passing through the 
Dardanelles, instead of following his instructions by making 
his course to the coast of Syria, Achmet sailed direct to 
Egypt, and there entered the port of Alexandria with flying 


colours and handed over the fleet to the enemy of the 
Sultan, the rebellious Pasha Mehemet Ali, a proceeding 
without precedent in history. It was only accomplished, 
we may presume, by profuse bribery on the part of the 
crafty Pasha. 

Mahmoud was spared the knowledge of these two signal 
disasters to his Empire. He died on July I, 1839, some 
writers allege from the effect of alcohol, though this is 
doubtful. Creasy and many other historians are unstinting 
in praise of Mahmoud. They assign to him a very high 
position in tlie Hst of Sultans. They bear testimony to his 
high civic courage, and to the firm resolution with which 
he confronted the many crises of his reign. We must 
fully admit these qualities. Few sovereigns in history have 
had to deal with such a succession of grave difficulties. 
Almost alone he bore the weight of Empire. We must 
not, however, lose sight of the fact that his administration 
and diplomacy were fraught with failure, that his Empire 
incurred greater losses than under any previous Sultan, that 
his armies met with invariable defeat, not only on the 
part of numerically weaker armies of Russia, but also from 
insurgent Greeks and Serbians, and even from Egyptians, 
whose fighting qualities were much inferior to those of the 
Turks. His firmness and resolution were very great, but 
they failed him at the supreme crisis of his career, when 
the Russian army, with quite inadequate numbers, after 
serious losses in battle and by disease, threatened Constan- 
tinople from Adrianople, and when it is now quite certain 
that, if Mahmoud had stood firm and had refused to come 
to terms, overwhelming disaster must have befallen the 
Russians. At another crisis also his firmness amounted 
to most unwise obstinacy when he refused, in 1827, to 
concede autonomy to Greece at the instance of the Great 
Powers — a supreme error from which all his subsequent 
misfortunes logically followed. Mahmoud seems also to 
have been wanting in magnetism to inspire his generals and 
soldiers with his own courage and resolution. He does 
not compare in this respect with his contemporary and 
rival, Mehemet Ali. He had little of the martial vigour 
and of the craft of that great vassal. If the Great Powers 
had not intervened, it was highly probable, if not certain, 
that Ibrahim's army would, either in 1833 or in 1839, 
have marched to Constantinople, have effected a revolution 


there, and have put an end to the Othman dynasty. It 
might have given new life to the decadent Turkish Empire. 
In any case, there was no reason why Mahmoud, if he 
had been endowed with Mehemet Ali's genius and adminis- 
trative capacity, should not have created an army superior 
in force and discipHne to that of the Egyptian Pasha, and 
equal to the task of preventing the Russians from crossing 
the Balkans. 




Mahmoud was succeeded by his son, Ab'dul Mehzid, a 
youth of sixteen years, who proved to be of very different 
stamp from his father. He was of mild and gentle nature, 
without physical or mental vigour, and wanting in force 
of character. He was enfeebled early in his reign by 
excessive indulgence in his harem. Later he was addicted 
to alcohol, like many of his predecessors. His father had 
monopolized power, and had frequently changed his 
ministers, with the result that he left no statesman behind 
him who could impose his will on the young Sultan and 
govern in his name. Nor was any lady of the harem 
ambitious and competent to guide or misguide the ship 
of State, as had not infrequently been the case in the 
past, when the reigning Sultan was unequal to the task. 
The main power during this reign as regards foreign 
affairs, and to some extent even as regards internal affairs, 
seems to have been vested in the ambassadors of the Great 
Powers. This power was exercised collectively by them 
on the rare occasions when they, were unanimously agteed, 
but at other times by one or other of them, and 
chiefly, as will be seen, by the British Ambassador, Sir 
Stratford Canning, later Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, who, 
by his force of character and commanding presence, 
obtained immense personal influence over the feeble mind 
of Abdul Mehzid, and exercised an almost undisputed 
sway from 1842 to 1858, with the exception of brief 
intervals when he was in England on leave, and when the 
Russian Ambassador succeeded in obtaining exclusive 

The new Sultan v/as fortunate, as compared with his 



father, that in the thirty -one years of his reign his 
Empire experienced no serious loss of territory. It 
is necessary, however, to advert to the two main events 
of it — the one, the suppression of Mehemet Ali's ambitious 
projects and the restriction of his hereditary Pashalic to 
Egypt ; the other, the Crimean War, as it is known in 
history — the war with Russia, the effect of which was to 
stave off for nearly twenty years the dismemberment of 
the Turkish Empire in Europe. 

As regards the first of these events, it has been shown 
that, in the last year of Mahmoud's reign, Mehemet Ali 
was in a position of great strength, which might have 
enabled him to overthrow the Othman dynasty. He had 
destroyed the main Turkish army in Asia, at Nazeb, on 
the frontier of Syria, and by the infamous treachery of 
Achmet Pasha he had obtained possession of the Turkish 
fleet. He comported himself, however, with moderation 
at this stage. He informed the Porte that he was willing 
to come to terms if they would recognize the Pashalics of 
Egypt, Syria, Tripoli (in Asia Minor), Adana, and Crete 
as hereditary in his family. He had no intention, he 
said, to use the Turkish fleet against his suzerain, [the 
Sultan. He would give it back to the Porte, if his terms 
were agreed to. If Sultan Mahmoud had been alive, it may 
be confidently assumed that he would have rejected these 
terms with contumely, and would have fought it out with 
his rebellious vassal. But Abdul Mehzid was wanting' in 
courage to meet the crisis. The two disasters caused the 
greatest alarm at Constantinople. The majority of the 
Divan were ready to concede the demands of Mehemet 
Ali. They were prevented from doing so by an unprece- 
dented occurrence. The ambassadors of the five Great 
Powers— England, France, Russia, Austria, and Prussia — 
met in conclave and came to the conclusion that it was 
contrary to the interests of their respective Governments 
that Mehemet Ali's demands should be acceded to. They 
informed the Porte that their Governments desired to 
discuss the questions raised by Mehemet Ali, and invited 
the Sultan to suspend a definitive arrangement with him. 
This was agreed to by the Divan. The settlement of the 
relation of the rebellious pasha to the Sultan fell into the 
hands of the ambassadors, and a kind of tutelage iwas 
established over the Turkish Empire. 


The conduct of the Emperor Nicholas on this occasion 
was most conciliatory to the other Powers. He intimated 
to them that, if they were united on a scheme to settle the 
Egyptian question, he would not insist on the special 
right which he had acquired under the treaties of Bucharest 
and of Akermann to exclude the ships of war of other 
Powers from the Dardanelles, and that he would withdraw his 
few^ remaining troops from Constantinople and the Bosphorus. 
Lord Palmerston, on behalf of Great Britain, expressed 
his admiration of this attitude of the Russian Emperor. 
As a result, a conference took place in London between 
the representatives of the Great Powers, at which Lord 
Palmerston, on behalf of England, and Baron Brunnow, 
on behalf of Russia, took the leading part. Grave differ- 
ence soon arose at the conference on the part of France. 
Its Government, though strongly opposed to Russia obtain- 
ing possession of Constantinople, had always been favour- 
able to the claim of Mehemet Ali to an hereditary Pashalic 
in Egypt and Syria, and had secretly, encouraged him 
to make himself independent of the Porte. It now 
supported him against the veto of the other Powers. 
Eventually England, Russia, and Austria, finding that they 
could not come to agreement with France, decided to act 
without its concurrence, and to compel Mehemet Ali to 
evacuate Syria and to restore to the Porte the Turkish 
fleet. After long discussion between these three Powers, 
a convention was agreed to on July 15, 1840. They 
presented an ultimatum to Mehemet Ali, calling upon him 
to submit himself to the Porte. They promised that if, 
within ten days of the receipt of the ultimatum, he would 
give orders for the withdrawal of his army from Syria, 
and would give up the Turkish fleet to the Porte, he 
would be recognized as hereditary Pasha of Egypt and 
as Pasha of Syria for his own life ; but, if not, the 
offer of the life Pashalic of Syria and the hereditary 
Pashalic of Egypt would be withdrawn, and he would 
have to content himself with the Pashalic for life of Egypt. 
It was also intimated to him that if there was refusal or 
delay the fleets of the three Powers would at once institute 
a blockade of Egypt and Syria. This ultimatum of the 
three Powers, when it became known in France, caused 
the most profound indignation ; the more so when, on 
the refusal of Mehemet Ali to accede to the ultimatum, the 



British fleet, supported by war vessels of the two other 
Powers, made its appearance on the coast of Syria. This 
was thought to be an insult to France. War between that 
country and England was imminent. There were violent 
scenes in the French Chambers, and most bitterly hostile 
articles in the French papers. There were threats of war 
on the part of the Government of France. But prudent 
counsels ultimately prevailed, when it was discovered that 
France was not prepared for a naval war, and that its 
fleet could not hope to contend with the British fleet in 
the Mediterranean or to land an army in Syria. 

The three Powers, on their part, mainly at the instance 
of Lord Palmerston, declined to submit their policy to 
the threats of France, and persisted in their demonstration 
of force against Mehemet All. War was averted between 
England and France, and Louis Philippe (then King of 
the French) contented himself with the cynical observation 
that there was all the difference in the world between 
threatening war and actually going to war. 

Meanwhile the British fleet, under Admirals Stopford 
and Napier, appeared before Beyrout and bombarded and 
destroyed its forts. Two thousand men were landed, under 
Napier, and defeated the Egyptian forces. The same 
operation was repeated a few days later at Acre. The 
powerful defences of this fortress were demolished by the 
guns of the British fleet, and six thousand men were landed, 
under Napier, and defeated Ibrahim's army. It was in 
these attacks on Beyrout and Acre that steamships made 
their first appearance in maritime war. The allies were 
greatly assisted by the revolt of the pe;ople of Syria against 
Mehemet All's oppressive government. Desertion also was 
very rife in the Egyptian force, and Ibrahim's army, which 
had originally consisted of seventy -five thousand men, had 
dwindled down to twenty -five thousand. 

After these operations on the coast of Syria, Napier and 
his squadron appeared before Alexandria and threatened 
bombardment. But Mehemet Ali, by this time, had realized 
that he could not hope to make war successfully jagainst 
the three Great Powers as well as the Sultan. He entered 
into negotiations with Admiral Napier. He agreed to 
evacuate Syria and to give up the Turkish fleet to the 
Porte, provided that the Sultan would recognize him as 
hereditary Pasha of Egypt. In the meantime the Sultan 


of Turkey had issued a firman deposing Mehemet Ali from 
all his Pashalics. This did not necessarily mean much, 
for the Porte on four previous occasions had publicly 
deposed the rebellious pasha, but without any result. 
Eventually, on September 20, 1841, agreement was arrived 
at between Mehemet Ali and the three Powers. In spite 
of his deposition by the Sultan, Mehemet Ali was confirmed 
in the position of hereditary Pasha of Egypt, but was 
deprived of all his other governments. He was to pay 
tribute to the Porte equal to one -fourth of the revenue of 
Egypt — later fixed at an annual sum of £400,000. He 
was to withdraw his army from Syria and to maintain no 
larger force in Egypt than eighteen thousand men. 

The intervention of the three Great Powers, taking the 
matter out of the hands of the Sultan, brought about an 
arrangement much more favourable to him than the Divan 
were willing to agree to. Syria was relieved of the govern- 
ment of Mehemet Ali and was placed again under the control 
of the Porte. Egypt, on the other hand, was made prac- 
tically independent, subject only to a fixed tribute in 
recognition of the nominal suzerainty of the Sultan. This 
result was achieved not by the force of arms of the Sultan, 
but by the action of the three Great Pow'ers, directed chiefly 
by the able diplomacy of Lord Palmerston, who steered 
this concert through all its difiiculties and against the 
violent opposition of France. The final settlement thus 
imposed on Mehemet Ali, which extinguished his ambitious 
projects and reduced his rule to Egypt alone, is said to 
have broken the heart of the old man. He lived on for 
eight more years, but they were spent in gloom and 
depression, aggravated by the death of his able and 
distinguished son Ibrahim. It should be added here that 
in 1 84 1, as a sequel to the arrangement about Egypt, a 
convention was agreed to between the Great Powers, in- 
cluding Russia, and Turkey by which the vessels of war 
of all countries except Turkey were forbidden to pass 
through the Straits to and from the Black Sea. 

The settlement of these grave questions, in 1841, was 
followed by twelve years of comparative repose in Turkey, 
broken only by occasional revolts of pashas, or of subject 
races driven to desperation by chronic misgovernment. 
These were put down by the Seraskier, Omar Pasha, who 
proved to be a very competent general for this (purpose. 


It was during this period that Sir Stratford Canning, as 
British Ambassador to the Porte, attained a personal influ- 
ence over the Sultan, Abdul Mehzid, of an unprecedented 
character, such that he may be said to have virtually ruled 
the State. 

Canning on three previous occasions had represented 
the British Government at Constantinople during the reign 
of Mahmoud . In 1 8 1 2 as Minister Plenipotentiary, when 
quite a young man, he had gained immense credit by 
inducing the Sultan to come to terms with Russia, by the 
treaty of Bucharest. The effect of this was to free the 
hands of the Czar and to enable him to withdraw his army 
from the Danube and to use it on the flank of Napoleon's 
army in the celebrated Moscow campaign. This largely 
contributed to the defeat of the invasion of Russia. 

Later he had been engaged in the delimitation of Greece, 
after the recognition of its independence, and had shown 
himself a Philhellene. In 1842 Lord Aberdeen, then 
Foreign Minister of England, sent him again as ambas- 
sador to the Porte at the age of fifty -seven. He remained 
there, with two short intervals, till 1858. He acquired, 
during these sixteen years, the title of * The Great Elchi," 
the ambassador par eminence. By the Christian rayas 
of the Ottoman Empire he was known as the Padishah of 
the Padishahs. He was the most distinguished envoy ever 
employed in the British Diplomatic Service. He belonged 
to an old school of diplomats, when communications with 
the Home Government were long in reaching their destina- 
tion, and when ambassadors necessarily took much respon- 
sibility upon themselves, and dictated rather than followed 
the policy of their Governments. He held himself to repre- 
sent his sovereign rather than the transient ministers of the 
day. His mien was such as greatly to impress the Turks. 
It was stately and dignified. His countenance was noble 
and spirituelle. His eyes seemed to penetrate the minds of 
those with whom he transacted business, and made it diffi- 
cult for them to conceal their intentions. His own methods 
were always honourable and straightforward. Though he 
was well versed in the arts of diplomacy and could meet 
mine by countermine, he never resorted to trickery. The 
Turks learned that his word was implicitly to be trusted, 
and that he wished well to their country. He treated 
the Turkish ministers with the utmost hauteur. With some 


of them, whose hands were known to be stained with 
blood, he refused to have any communication. If his 
demands were refused at the Porte, he went direct to the 
Sultan and fairly bullied that weak, gentle, and well- 
intentioned sovereign into acquiescence. He entered on 
his work in this embassy with two main conv^ictions, one 
might almost say obsessions — the one that it was the interest 
of England, and therefore his own duty, to oppose the 
schemes of Russia at every turn ; the other that it was 
his duty to urge, and even to compel, the Porte to carry out 
internal reforms, and to come into line with other civilized 
countries in Europe, in default of which he fully recognized 
that the Ottoman Empire could not be maintained. He 
had a firm belief that this wa,s possible, and that he was 
himself the appointed man to effect it. For this purpose he 
freely made use of threats of force from England if his 
behests were refused, and of promises of protection against 
Russia if they were agreed to. An envoy of this character, 
great as were his qualities and personal merits, was a 
cause of embarrassment to British policy, for the Govern- 
ment could not control him. One might say of him, in 
the words of Shakespeare : — 

If great men could thunder as Jove himself does, 
Jove would ne'er be quiet. 

Canning used the thunder of his country freely in 
pursuance of his own policy. He was imdoubtedly the 
main cause of the war which soon ensued between Great 
Britain and Russia. 

Meanwhile the reform of its administration and its laws 
had long been recognized by the very few honest and 
capable statesmen of Turkey as indispensable to the 
maintenance of its Empire. Mahmoud himself, in the latter 
part of his life, had appreciated this necessity, |and had' 
given his sanction to a scheme of reform. But death came 
to him before it was issued. He must have instructed his 
son as to this policy, for one of the first acts of Abdul 
Mehzid, by the advice of his Grand Vizier, Reschid Pasha, 
was to issue the important declaration of reform which 
had been prepared by Mahmoud, and was known as jthe 
Hatti-Scheriff of Ghulkan^. It promised equally to all 
his subjects, without distinction of creed or race, security 


of life, of honour, and of property, the equitable distrib^u- 
tion of taxes, the public trial of all prisoners, (the right of 
all to hold and devise property, and the systematic 're- 
cruiting of the army. It appointed a council to (elaborate 
the details of administrative reform to give effect to these 
principles. But this great charter of reform lacked the 
will of a Mahmoud to enforce it . There ensued a dangerous 
reaction. Reschid Pasha was compelled to resign. Riza 
Pasha, who succeeded him, and his colleagues, were 
reactionary, fanatical, and anti -Christian. The Hatti- 
Scheriff, like almost every other promise of reform 
in Turkey, became a dead letter. Riza was also corrupt 
and venal, and robbed the treasury of untold sums. It 
became the principal object of Canning to obtain the dis- 
missal of this man and of the gang of peculators who 
worked with him, and the reinstatement of Reschid. 
Proposals for reform in favour of the rayas were impossible 
with ministers who carried their hatred of Christianity to 
the length of excluding from the public service every Turk 
who could speak a Christian language. 

By dint of long and patient efforts Canning obtained 
such a mastery over Abdul Mehzid that he was able to 
bring about a change of ministers, and to reinstate Reschid 
Pasha as the only statesman in Turkey who was capable 
of carrying out reforms, and who was willing to be guided 
by himself as to their main principles. 

In 1852 a serious diplomatic dispute broke out at Con- 
stantinople, between the representatives of France and 
Russia, as to the guardianship of the Holy Sepulchre ^t 
Jerusalem and many trumpery details connected with it. 
Early in 1853 there were strong indications that the 
Emperor Nicholas intended to take the opportunity of this 
dispute to raise a much more serious question against [the 
Porte. He evidently desired to disarm the opposition of 
England to his schemes. In a private conversation at St. 
Petersburg with Sir Hamilton Seymour, the British Ambas- 
sador at his Court, he opened his mind : — 

The affairs of Turkey are in a very disorganized condition. The 
country itself seems to be falling to pieces. The fall will be a great 
misfortune, and it is very important that England and Russia should 
come to a perfectly good understanding upon these affairs, and that 
neither should take any decisive step of which the other is not apprised. 


. . . We have on our hands a sick man— a very sick man. It will, I tell 
you frankly, be a great misfortune if one of these days he should slip 
away from us before all necessary arrangements were made. 

With this intimation the conversation appears to have 
dropped. A few^ days later it was renewed at a private 
entertainment . 

You know [the Emperor said] the dreams and plans in which the 
Empress Catherine was in the habit of indulging ; these were handed 
down to our time ; but while I inherited immense territorial possessions, 
I did not inherit these visions — those intentions, if you like to call them 
so. On the contrary, my country is so vast, so happily circumstanced in 
everything, that it would be unreasonable in me to desire more territory 
or more power than I possess ; on the contrary, I am the first to tell you 
that our great, perhaps our only, danger is that which arises from an 
extension given to an Empire already too large. 

Close to us lies Turkey, and in our present condition nothing better for 
our interests can be desired. The time has gone by when we had any- 
thing to fear from the fanatical spirit or the military enterprise of the 
Turks, and yet the country is strong enough, or has hitherto been strong 
enough, to preserve its independence, and to insure respectful treatment 
from other countries. 

In that Empire there are several millions of Christians whose interests 
I am called to watch over, while the right of doing so is secured to me by 
treaty. I may truly say that I make a moderate and sparing use of my 
right, and I will freely confess that it is one which is attended with 
obligations occasionally very inconvenient ; but I cannot recede from the 
discharge of a distinct duty. . . . 

Now, Turkey has by degrees fallen into such a state of decrepitude 
that, eager as we all are for the prolonged existence of his life, he may 
suddenly die on our hands j we cannot resuscitate what is dead. If the 
Turkish Empire falls it falls to rise no more, and I put it to you, 
therefore, whether it is not better to be provided beforehand for a 
contingency than to incur the chaos, confusion, and the certainty of a 
European war, all of which must attend the catastrophe, if it should 
occur unexpectedly and before some ulterior system has been sketched. 
That is the part to which I am desiring you should call the attention of 
your Government. 

Now, I desire to speak to you as a friend, and as a gentleman. If 
England and I arrive at an understanding in this matter, as regards the 
rest it little matters to me. It is indifferent to me what others do or 
think. Frankly, then, I tell you plainly that, if England thinks of 
establishing herself one of these days at Constantinople, I will not allow 
it. For my part, I am equally disposed to take the engagement not to 
establish myself there— as proprietor, that is to say— for as occupier I do 


not say ; it might happ>cn that circumstances, if no previous provisions 
were made, if everything should be left to chance, might place me in the 
position of occupying Constantinople. 

On the 20th February, in a further conversation, the 
Emperor said : — 

If your Government has been led to believe that Turkey retains any 
element of existence, your Government must have received incorrect 
information. I repeat to you, the sick man is dying, and we can never 
allow such an event to take us by surprise. We must come to some 

The nesrt day he added :— 

The principalities are, in fact, an independent State under my 
protection. This might so continue. Serbia might receive the same 
form of government. So again with Bulgaria; there seems to be no 
reason why these provinces should not form one independent State. As 
to Egypt, I quite understand the importance to England of that territory. 
I can thus only say that if, in the event of a destruction of the Ottoman 
succession upon the fall of the Empire, you should take possession of 
Egypt, I shall have no objection to offer. I could say the same thing of 
Candia. That island might suit you, and I do not see why it should not 
become an English possession. 

Sir Hamilton Seymour, in reply to the Emperor, said 
to his Government : — 

I simply observed that I had always understood that the English views 
upon Egypt did not go beyond the part of securing a safe and ready 
communication between British India and the Mother Country. 

" Well," said the Emperor, " induce your Government to write again 
upon this subject — to write more fully and do so without hesitation. I 
have confidence in the British Government. It is not an engagement or 
convention which I ask of them ; it is a free interchange of ideas in case 
of need — the word of a gentleman — that is enough between us." 

In reporting these conversations to the Foreign Secre- 
tary, Sir Hamilton Seymour expressed his own opinion as 
follows : — 

It can hardly be otherwise but that the Sovereign who insists with 
such pertinacity upon the impending fall of a neighbouring State must 
have settled in his own mind that the hour, if not of the dissolution, at 
all events for the dissolution, must be at hand. 



In answer to these overtures the British Government, 
throug^h Lord John Russell, the Foreign Secretary, dis- 
claimed all intention of aiming^ at the acquisition either of 
Constantinople or any other of the Sultan's possessions, and 
accepted the assurances of the like effect which were given 
by the Czar. It combated the opinion that the extinction 
of the Ottoman Empire was near at hand and deprecated 
a discussion based on this supposition as leading* directly 
to produce the very result against which it was hoped 
to provide. Finally, the British Government, with abun- 
dance of courtesy, but in terms very stringent and clear, 
peremptorily refused to enter into any kind of secret 
engagement with Russia for the settlement of the Eastern 

Lord Clarendon, who succeeded Lord John Russell as 
Foreign Minister in the course of these proceedings, in a 
final despatch to Sir Hamilton Seymour (March 23, 1853), 
expressed the following opinion : — 

Turkey only requires forbearance on the part of its allies, and a 
determination not to press their claims in a manner humiliating to the 
dignity and independence of the Sultan — that friendly support, in short, 
which among States as well as individuals the weak are entitled to 
expect from the strong — in order not only to prolong its existence but 
to remove all cause for alarm respecting its dissolution. 

It will be seen that the British Government took much 
too sanguine a view of the prospects of reformed Govern- 
ment in Turkey, and that the Emperor of Russia was much 
nearer the mark. 

We have quoted these conversations at length because 
of their extreme importance when read by the light of 
subsequent events. They produced a bad impression at 
the time on the British Government, and still more so on 
public opinion in England, when later they were miade 
public. I It was thought that they indicated a deliberate 
intention on the part of the Emperor of Russia to force 
the Eastern question to the front, and to dismember the 
Ottoman Empire by a partition of the same kind as that 
to which Poland had been treated, a few years black, and 
in which Russia would have the lion's share. 

» The above conversations are reported in Parliamentary Papers, 1854, 
Eastern Question, House of Commons, 84. 


A more reasonable view may now be taken of the 
policy of the Emperor Nicholas. Subsequent events have 
conclusively shown that he was fully justified in describing 
the Turkish Empire as sick, almost to death, for since then 
it has lost almost the whole of its dominions in Europe. 
Russia also has acquired but a very small share of the vast 
territories that have been taken from it. It is also subject 
to the reflection that, although the British Government ^n 
1852 disclaimed any wish or intention to join in a scheme 
of partition of the Ottoman Empire, it has since acquired 
a considerable part of it, approxi mating to the offer of 
the Czar — namely Egypt, the Sudan, and the island of 

Early in 1853 the Czar sent as a special envoy to the 
Porte Prince Menschikof, a rude and bluff soldier. He 
was instructed to insist on Russia's claim to the guardian- 
ship of the Holy Sepulchre, in opposition to that of France, 
and with a further demand, of a more serious kind, for a 
protectorate in matters of religion over members of the 
Greek Church throughout the Ottoman Empire. 

It was no doubt in consequence of the conversations of 
the Czar with Sir Hamilton Seymour and of this special 
mission of Prince Menschikof that Canning, who had, in 
1852, resigned the embassy at Constantinople, and had 
been created a peer, with the title of Lord Stratford de 
Redcliffe, was again sent as ambassador to the Porte by 
Lord Clarendon, who was now Foreign Minister in England. 
Lord Stratford himself appears to have drawn up the 
instructions of the Foreign Office. He was directed to 
neutralize, by England's moral influence, the alarming 
position opened up by the demands, as regards the Holy 
Places and other matters, of Russia and France, and the 
dictatorial, if not hostile, attitude they had assumed. He 
was left unfettered for the settlement of the Holy Places. 
His own judgment and discretion might be trusted to guide 
him. The Porte was to be told that it had to thank 
its ow'n maladministration and the accumulated grievances 
of foreign nations for the menacing tone now adopted 
towards it by certain Powers ; that a general revolt of 
its Christian subjects might ensue ; that the crisis was 
one which required the utmost prudence on the part of 
the Porte, and confidence in the sincerity and sound- 
ness of the advice it would receive from him, to 


resolve it favourably for its future peace and independence. 
He was to counsel reform in the administration of Turkey, 
by which alone the sympathy of the British nation could 
be preserved. 

In the event of imminent danger to the existence of 
the Turkish Government, the ambassador was authorized 
to request the admiral in command of the British fleet 
at Malta to hold himself in readiness, but he was not to 
direct the approach of the fleet to the Dardanelles without 
positive instructions from her Majesty's Government. 

Lord Stratford, on arrival at Constantinople, found that 
his prot^g6, Reschid Pasha, had been dismissed from the 
post of Grand Vizier, at the instance of the new envoy of 
Russia, and replaced by a pasha favourable to that Power. 
Prince Menschikof, by the use of menaces, and probably 
with the aid of bribes, had obtained a commanding influ- 
ence over the Sultan's Government. He insisted that his 
demands on the Porte should be kept secret, and threatened 
to leave Constantinople if they were divulged to the British 
Ambassador. Lord Stratford, however, found no difficulty 
in obtaining full information as to the Russian demands. 
He showed very great diplomatic skill in separating the 
question of the Holy Places from the more serious one of the 
protectorate over the Greek Church. He contrived to settle 
between Russia, France, and the Porte the dispute as to 
the Holy Sepulchre. There remained, however, the more 
serious one of the protectorate. This was aggravated by 
personal rivalry and hate between the Czar Nicholas and 
Lord Stratford . The real question in dispute became largely 
whether Russian or British influence was to predominate 
in Turkey, and whether reforms, so essential for the security 
and well-being of its Christian population, were to be carried 
out under a protectorate by Russia or by England. It is 
impossible to read the able biography of Lord Stratford 
by Mr. Lane Poole, or Mr. Kinglake's well-known chapters 
on the causes which led to the Crimean War, without con- 
cluding that the policy of England at this crisis was virtually 
directed, not by the British Cabinet in London, but by 
Lord Stratford at the Embassy at Constantinople. Prince 
Menschikof, in the struggle which ensued at the Porte, 
was little competent to contend against so practised and 
wary a diplomat as Stratford, and was completely worsted 
in the attempt. 


Early in May, after the arrival of Stratford, a recon- 
struction of .{he Turkish ministry was effected at his 
instance. The nominee of Russia was dismissed. Ref'at 
Pasha took his place as Grand Vizier, and Reschid, Lord 
Stratford's main ally, was reinstated in office as Minister 
of Foreign Affairs. 

By Stratford's advice the Porte determined to resist the 
Russian demands. The claim to protect the members of 
the Greek Church was pronounced to be inadmissible. 
Prince Menschikof was informed to this effect, and on 
May 2 1 St he broke off diplomatic relations with the Porte, 
and left Constantinople in high dudgeon. This was 
followed, on May 31st, by an arrogant despatch to the 
Porte from the Russian Government, insisting on the 
acceptance of the Menschikof demands . At the instance 
of Stratford, the Porte again refused, and thereupon a 
Russian army crossed the Pruth, on July 3rd, and occupied 
Moldavia and Wallachia. In a manifesto, issued a few 
days later, the Czar disclaimed any intention of conquest, 
and justified his occupation of the provinces as a material 
guarantee for the fulfilment of his demands on behalf of 
the Christian population of Turkey. 

That there was ample cause for the complaints of the 
Russian Government of the maltreatment of the Christian 
population in Turkey cannot be disputed. On July 22, 
1853, Lord Stratford himself, in a formal communication 
to the Porte, forwarded reports from the British Consuls 
at Scutari, Monastir, and Prevesa, which detailed '' acts 
of disorder, injustice, and corruption of a very atrocious 
kind, which he had frequently brought to the notice of 
the Ottoman Porte." He complained that the assurances 
given by the late Grand Vizier of remedies for such evils 
had not been carried out, and he observed, with extreme 
disappointment and pain, the continuance of evils which 
affected so deeply the welfare of the Empire. 

Again, on July 4th of the same year, in a further 
communication to the Porte, Lord Stratford wrote : — 

The character of disorderly and brutal outrages may be said with truth 
to be in general that of Mussulman fanaticism, excited by cupidity and 
hatred against the Sultan's Christian vassals. 

Unless some powerful means be applied without further delay, it is 
to be feared that the authority of the central Government will be com- 


pletely overpowered and that the people, despairing of protection, will 
augment the disorder by resorting to lawless means of self-preservation. 

Lord Clarendon, the Foreign Minister, also, in a com- 
munication to the British Ambassador, showed that he was 
fully alive to the serious character of the disorders in the 
Turkish Empire. He wrote : — 

It is impossible to suppose that any true sympathy for their rulers will 
be felt by the Christian subjects of the Porte, so long as they are made 
to experience in all their daily transactions the inferiority of their position 
as compared with that of their Mussulman fellow-subjects ; so long as 
they are aware that they will seek in vain for justice for wrongs done 
either to their persons or their properties, because they are deemed a 
degraded race, unworthy to be put into comparison with the followers 
of Mahomet. Your Excellency will plainly and authoritatively state to 
the Porte that this state of things cannot be longer tolerated by Christian 
Powers. The Porte must decide between the maintenance of an erroneous 
principle and the loss of sympathy and support of its allies. 

In spite, however, of the experience of the futility of 
all past promises to carry out the most elementary reforms 
in favour of the Christian subjects of the Porte, both 
Lord Stratford and Lord Clarendon appear to have based 
their policy largely on the belief that the Porte would be 
more amenable in the future. 

The occupation of the Danubian principalities by a 
Russian army did not of itself necessarily involve war 
with Turkey. Though the Sultan was suzerain of these 
provinces, they enjoyed complete autonomy under the pro- 
tection of Russia. Under certain conditions that Power 
was entitled to send its army there. But the continued 
occupation of them was clearly antagonistic to the sovereign 
rights of the Sultan and would ultimately lead to war. 

With a view to avoid war, a conference was held by the 
representatives of all the Powers except Russia at Vienna, 
and an agreement was arrived at for the settlement of the 
question between Russia and Turkey by England, France, 
Austria, and Prussia. This was agreed to by Russia. It 
was commended to the Porte by the Powers, and Lord 
Stratford w^as instructed by Lord Clarendon to use all 
his efforts to obtain its consent. 

OfBcially, Lord Stratford performed his task in due 
accord with the instructions of Lord Clarendon. But his 


biographer and, still more, Mr. Kinglake admit that the 
rejection of the Vienna demand was mainly due to the 
British Ambassador. After quoting the words of Lord 
Stratford, in which he described his efforts to induce the 
Porte to accede to it, Kinglake writes : — 

These were dutiful words. But it is not to be believed that, even 
if he strove to do so, Lord Stratford could hide his real thoughts from the 
Turkish ministers. There was that in his very presence which disclosed 
his volition ; for if the thin, disciplined lips moved in obedience to con- 
stituted authorities, men who knew how to read the meaning of his brow, 
and the light which kindled beneath, could gather that the ambassador's 
thoughts concerning the Home Governments of the four Great Powers of 
Europe were little else than an angry quos ego ; the sagacious Turks would 
look more to the great signs than to the terms of formal advice sent out 
from London, and if they saw that Lord Stratford was, in his heart, 
against the opinion of Europe, they could easily resolve to follow his 
known desire and to disobey his mere words. The result was that 
without any sign of painful doubt the Turkish Government determined 
to stand firm. 

This is the view of a panegyrist of Lord Stratford. 
We have quoted it for the purpose of showing that it was 
practically Lord Stratford who guided the Turkish Govern- 
ment in this matter. 

After the failure of the settlement prepared at the Vienna 
Conference, the Porte, on October ist, by the advice of 
Lord Stratford, made a formal demand on Russia for the 
evacuation of the Danubian principalities, and in default of 
this, a fortnight later it declared war. The Turks then 
boldly took the initiative. Their army, under Omar Pasha, 
crossed the Danube in November, 1853, and fought two 
battles successfully against the Russians at Oltenitza and 
Citale in Wallachia. 

Meanwhile, on October 22nd, when Russia and Turkey 
were already at war, the fleets of England and France 
entered the Dardanelles. Though this was not an infraction 
of the treaty of 1841, it was a distinctly hostile act on the 
part of these Powers against Russia. But negotiations still 
continued. Whatever hopes, however, there were of a 
favourable issue were destroyed when, on November 30th, 
a Russian fleet of six battleships, issuing from Sebastopol, 
attacked and completely destroyed a Turkish squadron of 
eleven cruisers and smaller vessels lyingi at anchor in the 


port of Sinope, on the coast of Asia Minor. Four thousand 
Turkish sailors perished in this engagement. This was 
an act of war, as legitimate as the attack by the Ottoman 
army on the Russian force north of the Danube, the more 
so as the Turkish vessels were believed to be carrying 
munitions of war to arm the Circassians against Russia. 
It caused, however, an immense sensation in England and 
France. It was denounced as an act of treachery and as 
a massacre rather than a legitimate naval action. The 
fleets of the two Powers then lying in the Bosphorus were 
at once instructed to enter the Black Sea and to invite any 
Russian ships of war they might meet there to return to 
their ports. They were to prevent any further attack on 
Turkey. This made war inevitable. But negotiations were 
still for a time continued, and it was not till March 28, 
1854, that war was actually declared against Russia by 
England and France. Armies were then sent by these 
Powers to Constantinople, and thence to Varna, in the Black 
Sea, with the object of protecting Turkey against the attack 
of a Russian army and of assisting the former in com- 
pelling the evacuation by the' Russians of the two Danubian 

Meanwhile, early in the spring of this year (1854), a 
Russian army had crossed the Danube and had invested 
Silistria, the great fortress which barred the way to the 
Balkans and Constantinople. It was defended with the 
utmost bravery and tenacity by a Turkish army under 
Moussa Pasha, assisted by two British engineer officers, 
Butler and Nasmyth. On June 25th the Russians recog- 
nized that they could not capture the fortress. They 
raised the siege and retreated across the Danube, after 
incurring immense loss of life and material. 

All danger of an advance by the Russians across the 
Danube and the Balkans was now at an end. The Turks 
unaided had efifectually prevented any such project. The 
Russian army thereupon retreated from the Danubian prin- 
cipalities. Their place there was taken by an Austrian 
army, with the consent of both Russia and the two Western 
Powers. No reason existed, therefore, why the war 
should be continued, so far as England and France were 
concerned. There was no longer any necessity for their 
armies to defend the frontiers of Turkey. But a war spirit 
had been roused in the two countries and was not to be 


allayed without much shedding of blood. The two Powers 
decided to use their armies which had been collected at 
Varna for the invasion of the Crimea and the destruction of 
the naval arsenal at Sebastopol, which was regarded as a 
permanent menace to Turkey. 

Thenceforth, the part of the Turks in the war became 
subordinate and even insignificant. The war was fought 
a outmnce between the two allied Powers and Russia. 
The successful landing of the two armies at Eupatoria, in 
the Crimea, their splendid victory over the Russian army 
at the Alma, their flank march to the south of Sebastopol, 
the commencement of the long siege of that fortress, the 
famous battles of Balaklava and Inkerman and the terrible 
sufferings of the British army in the winter of 1854-5, the 
memorable defence of Sebastopol under General Todleben, 
the capture of the Malakoff by the French on September 8th, 
1855, and the consequent evacuation of the city and forts of 
Sebastopol, on the southern side of its great harbour, are 
events of the deepest interest in the histories of the allied 
Powers and Russia, but have comparatively little bearing 
on our present theme. Very Httle use was, in fact, made 
of the Turkish army by the Allies in the course of the war 
A division of seven thousand men was sent to the Crimea 
in the autumn of 1854, and was employed for the defence 
of Balaklava. It was led by most incompetent officers, and 
when attacked by the Russians on the morning of the Battle 
of Balaklava, the men precipitately fled. This exposed the 
flank of the allied army to great danger. Later, another 
Turkish force under Omar Pasha was sent to Eupatoria. It 
was attacked there by a much superior Russian army, early 
in 1855, and fighting behind earthworks it made a very 
effective resistance and completely repulsed the Russians. 
It was said that the humiliation of this defeat of his troops 
by the despised Turks was the immediate cause of the 
death of the Emperor Nicholas. 

In Asia Minor another Russian army invaded Turkish 
territory and laid siege to the fortress of Kars. There 
followed the memorable defence of this stronghold by the 
Turks, assisted, if not commanded, by General Williams, 
later Sir Fenwick Williams, and Colonel Teesdale. It was 
ultimately, after a four months* siege, compelled by want 
of food and munitions to capitulate. The failure to relieve 
it was due to the grossest and most culpable negligenqe 


of the Turkish Government. In this siege and in that of 
Silistria and the defence of Eupatoria, the Turkish soldiers 
gave ample proof that when well led they had lost none of 
their pristine valour in defence of earthworks. The allied 
Powers, however, seem to have been quite ignorant or 
unmindful of the military value of the Turkish soldiers and 
made httle or no practical use of them. An army of 
fifty thousand Turks led by English or French officers 
would have been of the utmost value in the earlier part 
of the war. It was only towards the close of it that twenty 
thousand Turks were enrolled under British officers. But 
this action was too late, and they took no part in the war. 

The writer, as a young man, spent a month in the Crimea 
in 1855, and was present as a spectator on Cathcart's 
HiU on the eventful day when the Malakoff was captured 
by the French, and the British were repulsed in their attack 
on the Redan. He well recollects the prevalent opinion 
among British officers, whom he met, that the Turkish army 
was a negligible force and of no military value in the 
field. This opinion was abundantly shown in the attitude 
of British and French soldiers to the Turkish soldiers when- 
ever they met, and must have been very galling to the 
pride and self-respect of the latter. 

The capture of the Malakoff, a great feat of arms on the 
part of the French army, was the last important event in 
the campaign of 1855. Early in 1856 there were strong 
indications that the Emperor of the French was weary of 
the war. Public opinion in France declared itself unmis- 
takably against its continuance. France had nothing to 
gain by its prolongation. Its military pride had been 
satisfied by success in the capture of Sebastopol and the 
destruction of the Russian fleet. Its army in the Crimea 
was suffering severely from disease. With the British it 
was otherwise. Their army before the enemy was in greater 
force than at any previous period of the war. It was eager 
to retrieve its prestige, which had been somewhat impaired 
by the failure at the Redan. The British Government was 
as anxious for another campaign as was the army. But 
without their French ally they could obviously do nothing. 
The French Emperor entered into secret negotiations with 
the Emperor Alexander, who had succeeded Nicholas. The 
success of the Russian army in the capture of Kars and 
the valour it had shown in defence of Sebastopol made it 



easy to negotiate peace without slur on its military fame. 
It is impossible for us, who now look back on these times, 
to perceive what possible object could have been gained 
by England in prolonging the war. The projects of com- 
pleting the conquest of the Crimea, and of sending an army 
to the Caucasus in aid of the Circassians, and another army, 
to the Baltic to free Finland from Russia, were fantastic 
and perilous. England was saved from these adventures 
by the wiser policy of the French. The British Govern- 
ment against its will was compelled to enter into a negotia- 
tion for peace. This was effected through the mediation 
of Austria. Terms were provisionally agreed to, and a 
Congress of the Great Powers was held in Paris in 1856, 
at which a treaty of peace was finally concluded. 

Under the terms of this treaty all the territories con- 
quered by Russia in Asia or by the allied Powers in 
Europe were restored to their former owners. The small 
part of Bessarabia conceded to Russia by the treaty of 
Bucharest and giving access to the Danube was reannexed 
to Moldavia. The exclusive protectorate of Russia over 
the two Danubian principaHties was abolished, and they 
were placed under the joint protection of all the Great 
Powers. The suzerainty of the Sultan over them was 
recognized. But the Porte engaged to preserve for them 
an independent and national administration, with full liberty 
of worship, of legislation, and of commerce. They were 
to be permitted to organize national armed forces. Serbia 
was accorded the same treatment, except as regiards a 
national army, but the' armed intervention of the Porte was 
to be permitted only with the consent of the Powers who 
were signatories to the treaty. The Black Sea was 
neutralized. It was thrown open to the mercantile marine 
of all nations, but was interdicted to the war vessels of 
either Russia or Turkeyl, and these two Powers engaged 
not to establish or maintain any military maritime arsenals 
on its coasts. 

As regards the internal administration of Turkey and 
the treatment of its Christian population, the treaty con- 
tained the following clause : — 

The] Sultan, having by his constant solicitude for the welfare of his 
subjects issued a j&rman (the Hatti-Humayun), which, while amehorating 
their condition without distinction of religion or race, records his generous 



intentions towards the Christian population of his Empire, and wishing 
to give a further proof of his sentiments in that direction, has resolved 
to communicate to the contracting Powers the said firman emanating 
spontaneously from his sovereign will. The contracting Powers recognize 
the high value of this communication. It is clearly understood that it 
cannot give to the said Powers the right to interfere either collectively 
or individually in the relations of H.M. the Sultan with his subjects or in 
the internal administration of his Empire. 

The latter part of the clause, it will be seen, completely 
nullified and destroyed the effect of the earlier part pf 
it, and practically gave full licence to the Sultan to con- 
tinue his misgovernment of his Empire and to refuse the 
just demands of his Christian subjects — a very lame and 
impotent conclusion to the war. 

In explanation of this clause, it should be stated that 
Lord Stratford, shortly before the meeting of the Con- 
gress, had succeeded, after long efforts, in extracting from 
the Porte another charter of reform in favour of its Christian 
subjects, known as the Hatti-Humayun. This was referred 
to in the treaty, not as an act binding on the Porte, but 
merely as an indication of the Sultan's good intentions, 
and with the express condition that neither the Great Powers 
signatories to the treaty nor any one of them were to be 
entitled to call him to account in the event of his pious 
intentions not being carried into effect. Lord Stratford, 
when he heard at Constantinople of the intentions of the 
Congress, but before a final conclusion was arrived at, 
wrote to Lord Clarendon the following strong protest : — 

There are many able and experienced men in this country who 
view with alarm the supposed intention of the Conference at Paris to 
record the Sultan's late Firman of Privileges (the Hatti-Humayun) in the 
treaty of peace, and at the same time to declare that the Powers of Europe 
disclaim all right of interference between the Sultan and his subjects. 
They argue thus : The Imperial firman places the Christians and the Mus- 
sulmans on an equal footing as to civil rights. It is believed that the Porte 
will never of its own accord carry the provisions of the firman seriously 
into effect. The treaty, in its supposed form, would therefore confirm 
the right and extinguish the hope of the Christians. Despair on their 
side and fear on that of the Turks would, in that case, engender the 
bitterest animosity between them, and not improbably bring on a deadly 
struggle before long." 

* Life of Lord Stratford, ii. p. 442. 


This protest, which doubtless represented Lord Strat- 
ford's own convictions, was of no avail. Lord Clarendon 
was powerless at the Congress. He met with no support 
from the French representatives. They cared nothing for 
reforms in Turkey. The Russians, in view of the origin 
of the war and the refusal of the other Powers to recogPxizc 
their claim to intervention on behalf of the Christians in 
Turkey, were naturally indisposed to concede it to others, 
either individually or collectively. The nullifying provision 
v/as inserted in the treaty. It abrogated whatever effect the 
recognition of the firman might have had. The Hatti- 
Humayun became, ipso facto, a dead letter. Lord Strat- 
ford was bitterly disappointed. " He felt very keenly," 
says his biographer, ** the pusillanimity of his own Govern- 
ment, who had made him a victim to their deference to 
France." In a letter to his brother after the conclusion of 
the treaty. Lord Stratford wrote : "To be the victim of so 
much trickery and dupery and charlatanism is no small 
trial. But I have faith in principles as working out their 
own justification, and fix my thoughts steadily on that 
coming day when the peace of Paris will be felt and its 
miserable consequences . * ' 

Lord Clarendon, in a letter to the ambassador, thus 
described his own views of the treaty : — 

I think as you do about the terms of peace, but I am not the least sorry 
that peace is made, because, notwithstanding our means of carrying on 
the war, I beheve we should have run risks by so doing for which no 
possible success would have compensated. We should have been alone. 
... If you could have seen all that was passing when I got to Paris — 
the bitterness of feeling against u?;, the kindly (I might almost say the 
enthusiastic) feeling towards Russia, and the determination, if necessary, 
to throw over the Vienna conditions in order to prevent the resumption 
of hostilities (money matters and Bourse speculations being the main 
cause), you would have felt as I did, that our position was not agreeable, 
and that Brunnow was justified in saying that they did not come to 
make or negotiate peace, but to accept the peace which was to be crammed 
down their throats. . . . Unluckil)% too, just as negotiations began the 
French army fell ill, and the Emperor himself admitted to me that, with 
twenty-two thousand men in hospital and likely to be more, peace had 
almost become a military as well as a financial and political necessity 
for him.* 

* Life of Lord Stratford, ii, p. 436, 


Lord Stratford's words on hearing that the treaty was 
signed were, " I would rather have cut off my right hand 
than have signed that treaty." 

The writer paid a second visit to Constantinople in 1857. 
He rode there from Belgrade, passing through Bulgaria 
on the vvay, and was witness of the miserable condition to 
which this province had been reduced by Ottoman rule. 
He spent a few weeks at Therapia, where the Ambassadoir 
was residing, and was favoured by many conversations with 
him. Lord Stratford was always most kind and communica- 
tive to young men. He made no secret of his bitter dis- 
appointment. The treaty of Paris, he alleged, was a death- 
blow to the cause of reform in Turkey. If the Christian 
population were not protected from misgovernment, the 
Empire was doomed. He was imder no illusion as to the 
misgovernment of the country. He knew that if left to 
themselves the Turks would do nothing, and that all the 
reforms promised by the Hatti-Humayun which he had 
obtained with so much labour and difficulty before the con- 
clusion of the Crimean War would remain imexecuted and 
would be a dead letter. He considered that England had 
been betrayed at the Congress of Paris, that the clause in 
the treaty which embodied the Hatti-Humayun was nullified 
by the provision that its recognition did not entitle the 
Great Powers either collectively or separately to interfere 
in the internal affairs of Turkey. He held that this was 
fatal to the enforcement of the new reforms. He main- 
tained that the only way to induce the Turks to act in 
accordance with them was through threats and fear, and 
that some external Power should bring such pressure to 
bear on them. This might be done by England alone, or 
by England in alliance with France, or by the Great Powers 
collectively. He preferred the first of these ; he had 
little hope of the last ; but the treaty had extinguished aU 
methods equally. ^ It was the last year of the Great Elchi's 
reign at Constantinople. He retired from his post and 
from the public service in the following year at the age 
of seventy -one. 

He was succeeded by Sir Henry Bulwer, later Lord 
Dalling, an ambassador of a very different type. Though 
an able diplomat, he cared nothing for reform in Turkey. 
He allowed himself to be placed under personal obliga- 

» The above is from notes of conversations with Lord Stratford made 
^t the time. 


tion to the Sultan, which destroyed his influence. He 
made no effort to induce, still less to compel, the Porte 
to give effect to the Hatti-Humayun which his predecessor 
had obtained with so much labour. 

The cause of reform in Turkey [says Mr. Lane Poole], for which Lord 
Stratford had striven-for so many years, began its downward course when 
the Turks understood the altered character of the British Embassy under 
Sir Henry Bulwer. Lord Stratford's farewell to Constantinople was the 
occasion for a stately ceremony, in which the Sultan and all his ministers 
and the whole population joined in paying a last tribute to the departing 
Elchi. . . . He knew, however, that he was assisting in the obsequies of 
his hopes. His long struggle for reform of the Ottoman Empire was 
at an end, and in the character of his successor he could trace the 
antithesis of all he had striven for, the abandonment of all he had won.' 

Lord Stratford lived on in retirement to the age of 
ninety -three, long enough to see the verification of all 
his fears as to the effect of the unfortunate clause in the 
treaty of Paris in nullifying the promises of reforms in 
Turkey and of all his predictions as to the result of this in 
the revolt in j 874 of the Christian populations of Bosnia, 
Herzegovina, and Bulgaria under the stress of appalling 
misgovernment and tyranny, and in their final liberation 
from Turkish rule by the armies of Russia. On this occa- 
sion the revolt of these subjects of the Porte had his fuU 
sympathy, and he admitted that Russia was fully justified in 
its intervention. 3 

Mr. Gladstone in 1876 dedicated to Lord Stratford his 
pamphlet on Bulgarian atrocities, which' had such powerful 
effect in preventing England from' taking up arms again 
in support of Turkey. 3 

* Life of Lord Stratford, ii. p. 449. 

^ Lord Morley's Life of Gladstone, ii. p. 555. 

3 It may be well to add, what has not been mentioned by his able 
biographer, doubtless because Lord Stratford's daughters were alive when 
the book was published in 1888, that the Great Elchi gave testimony of 
his belief in the permanence of the Turkish Empire by investing the 
greater part of his personal property and savings in Turkish Bonds. 
In 1874, when the Porte became bankrupt and repudiated payment of 
interest on the debt, some friend at Constantinople wrote to Lord Stratford 
giving timely information of what was coming and advising him to sell 
his bonds while there was yet time. Lord Stratford, however, thought 
it was inconsistent with his sense of honour to act on this advice. Hig 



Looking back at the Crimean War, it is now possible 
for us to perceive and admit that its main, if not its only, 
result was to postpone for a few years the break up of the 
Turkish Empire in Europe. It negatived for a time the 
claim of Russia to an exclusive protectorate over the 
Christian populations of the Balkans which would secure 
to them the benefit of good government. Lord Stratford's 
hopes of a reformed Turkish Empire, more or less under 
the segis of England, were frustrated by the treaty of 
Paris. As a result, no reforms were effected in Turkey. 
Its downward course was retarded, but not averted. When, 
in 1876, the Accumulated grievances of the Christian popu- 
lation compelled an outbreak, it will be seen that the 
intervention of Russia on their behalf was practically 
admitted by England and the other Great Powers. 

Abdul Mehzid died in 1861. He had not realized even 
the small promise of his youth. He had many instincts that 
were sound and good. He was the most humane of the 
long list of Sultans. He fully recognized the urgent neces- 
sity for refornis in his State, in ordet to bring it into line 
with other civilized States in Europe. But he had liot 
the energy or the will to carry them into effect, and the pro- 
gramme of reform conceded to Lord Stratford remained a 
dead letter. He was prematurely aged by debauchery. He 
was the first Sultan to fall into the hands of moneylenders of 
Western Europe. Great sums were borrowed ostensibly 
for the war with Russia. But the larger part of thbm? 
was expended by Abdul Mehzid in wild extravagance, 
in gratifying the caprices of the multitude of women In 
his harem, in building palaces, and in satisfying the 
demands of coi'rupt ministers. On the occasion of the 
marriage of one of his daughters with the son of a Grand 
Vizier he spent forty millions of francs on her trousseau 
and in fetes. Meanwhile the services of the State (were 
neglected, nothing was done to relieve Kars, and corruption 
spread in all directions. 

means were greatly reduced by the bankruptcy of the Porte. After 
his death and the cessation of his pension, his daughters would have been 
in very reduced circumstances if it had not been for the generosity of a 
personal friend of their father, the late Lady Ossington, who made up to 
these ladies, for their lives, the amount of the pension from the State 
which had lapsed by the death of Lord Stratford, 


Abdul Aziz, who succeeded his hirother and reigned for 
fifteen years, was physically one of the finest of his race. 
He was majestic in appearance. His mien was gracious. 
He was every inch a Sultan. But this was about all that 
could be said for him. His mind was vacuous. His 
education had been neglected. He had spent many years 
in forced seclusion, but had secretly intrigued with the 
more fanatical party in the State against his brother^ and 
had raised hopes that on coming to the throne he would 
reverse the measures of reform, such as they were, which 
his two predecessors had initiated. But he belied these 
expectations for a time. On his accession he issued ,a 
proclamation announcing his intention to follow his two 
predecessors in the path of reform. He promised to 
economize the resources of the State and to reduce the 
vast expenditure of the palace. He pensioned off the 
multitudes of concubines of his brother, and gave out 
that he meant tO: content himself with the most modest 
harem. But these proved to be no more than good inten- 
tions, which only paved the way to very opposite measures. 
Before long his own retinue of women was increased to 
nine hundred, and the number of eunuchs in his palace 
to three thousand. His extravagance soon emulated that 
of his brother. His reign was one of external peace, 
which afforded full opportunity for giving effect to the 
reforms promised by his brother and registered by the 
treaty of Paris. Nothing was ever done. The firman 
proved to be a dead letter. His ministers cared no mojre 
than himself for reforms. Successive British Ambassadors 
made no serious efforts in this direction. Indeed, they 
were precluded by the treaty of Paris from any exclusive 
pressure on the Porte, without the support of all the other 

The reign was chiefly conspicuous for the enormous 
borrowings of money in London and Paris by the Porte, 
following on the bad example set by Abdul Mehzid. The 
debt was rapidly increased by Abdul Aziz till it reached 
a total of nearly two hundred millions sterling'. It does 
not appear that the accruing interest on this great debt 
was ever paid out of the revenues of the Empire. Fresh 
loans 'were continually raised, out of which the accumulated 
interest on previous loans was provided. Huge commissions 
to financiers who brought out the loans, and bribes to 


pashas for consenting" to their issue, accounted for another 
largie part of the borrowed money. What remained was 
mainly devoted by the Sultan to new palaces and to 
extra vagiances of his harem. This merry game went on 
as long as credulous people in Western Europe could be 
induced to continue lending. But the credit of the Turkish 
Empire was exhausted in 1874. A repudiation of half 
of the interest was then announced, and in the following 
year the remaining half was repudijated. This did much 
to weaken the interest of Western Europe in the Turkish 
cause. Eventually a composition was arrived at with the 
creditors of the State. An International Commission was 
appointed, in whom certain revenues of the State were 
vested, out of which the interest of a greatly reduced total 
of the original debt was to be paid. The principle of foreign 
control over the finance of the Empire was thus 

The Russian Government during this reign, by its skilful 
diplomacy, backed by threats of force, recovered much of 
its old influence at the Porte, and its ambassador. General 
Ignatief, began to dominate its councils and to nominate 
its Grand Viziers. Three events during the period showed 
the gradual downward course of the Empire. In 1867 the 
two Danubian principalities succeeded in accomplishing 
their long -desired object of uniting together in a single 
State, thenceforth known as Roumania ; and in 1868 Prince 
Charles of Hohenzollern was elected, and was invested by 
the Sultan as the hereditary ruler of this newi State. The 
union of the two provinces into a single State practically 
secured independence to it, while the connection of its 
ruler with the reigning family of Prussia marked the advent 
of that Power into the political system of the Christian 
States founded on the debris of thte Turkish Empire in 
Europe, and was the first of many important alliances of 
which we now see the intent and result. Serbia also made 
an important advance to independence. In 1867 the Turkish 
garrison in Belgrade, the occupation of which had been 
confirmed by the treaty of Paris, was withdrawn by the 
Porte. These two events were the result of pressure of 
the ambassadors of the Great Powers, who were anxious 
to minimize the causes of friction to the Porte, which did 
not add to its real strength. 

Another important event was the repudiation by Russia 


on Octobier 31, 1870, during the Franco -German War, of 
the clause in the treaty of Paris of 1856 which interdicted 
thte Black Sea to Russian and Turkish vessels of war, 
and forbade to both Powers the creation or maintenance of 
naval arsenals on the coasts of that sea. We now know that 
Prince Bismarck, on behalf of Prussia, secured the neutrality 
of Russia in the war with France, in 1870, by promising 
to support this repudiation by the Czar of his treaty 
obligation. Complaint has not unfrequently been made of 
the refusal or neglect of the British Government, of which 
Mr. Gladstone was then the head, to insist on the mainte- 
nance of this treaty by Russia, even at the risk of war. 
But the Porte, in whose interest the provision had been 
framed by the Congress of Paris, and which was primarily 
concerned in its maintenance, showed no desire or inten- 
tion to make its breach by Russia a casus belli, and it 
would have been sheer madness for England, eithter with 
or without Turkey, to have taken up the challenge of 
the Czar. A humiliating restriction such as this on the 
sovereign rights of a great country was obviously of a tem- 
porary character, and could not, in the nature of things, be 
a permanent arrangement. It had served its purpose by 
giving to the Porte a respite of fourteen years from naval 
attack by Russia, feord Palmerston, who was Prime 
Minister in England when the treaty ,was made, had him- 
self put on record the opinion that the enforced {neutrality 
of the Black Sea might be expected to last for fifteen 
years. It is to be noted that some years Would necessarily 
elapse after the repudiation of the treaty before a Russian 
fleet could be created in the Black Sea and b'efore Seb'as- 
topol could be restored as a niaval bb,se. In point of fact, 
in the war, which was soon to break out between Russia 
arid Turkey, in 1877, the latter Powfer had virtual com- 
mand of the Black Sea, and the Russian army which crossed 
the Balkans and advanced to the vicinity of Constajnti- 
nople did so without the support of a naval force in the 
Black Sea, as had been the case in 1829. 

Another event also occurred in 1870, the significance of 
which was not fully appreciated at the time. Previous to 
that year the Christian Slav populations of the Balkans, 
such as the Bulgarians, Bosnians, and others, were under 
the spiritual jurisdiction of the Greek Ecumenical Patriarch 
and were regarded as Greeks. The ancient history of 


Bulgaria and its claims to a distinct nationality appear to 
have been forgotten or ignored by politicians interested in 
the Eastern question. On March 10, 1870, Abdul Aziz, 
under pressure from Russia, backed by its able ambas- 
sador, General Ignatief, issued a firman recognizing the 
separate existence of Bulgaria, and creating for it a national 
Church independent of the Greek Church, though differing 
in no important respect in point of doctrine or ritual. 
This laid the foundation for a new nationality in the 
Balkans. Bulgaria, long forgotten, emerged from obscurity 
and came to the front as a competitor of the Greeks, 
The importance of this will be appreciated later, when we 
come to the rivalry of these races for the debris of the 
Ottoman Empire in Europe. 

In 1876 a bloodless revolution took place in Constan- 
tinople. A new ministry was forced upon Abdul Aziz, of 
which Midhat T*asha — one of the few genuine and con- 
vinced reformers among the leading Turks — was a member. 
They decided to depose the Sultan. They obtained a 
fetva from the Mufti justifying this on the ground of his 
incapacity and extravagance. No single hand was raised 
in his favour. After a vain protest, he submitted to his 
fate, and was removed from his palace to another building 
destined to be his prison. Fo^r days later he was found 
dead there, and nineteen physicians of the city, including 
men of all nationalities, testified that Abdul Aziz died by 
his own hand*! 




On the deposition of Abdul Aziz, his nephew, the eldest 
son of Abdul Mehzid, much against his will, was pro- 
claimed as Sultan, under the title of Murad V. His feeble 
mind, reduced to a nullity by long seclusion in the Cage, 
and by the habit of intemperance, was completely unhinged 
by this unexpected elevation, and after a few weeks — on 
August 31, 1876 — it became necessary for the committee 
of ministers \\^ho had set him on the throne to depose him 
in favour of the next heir. His brother, Abdul Hamid II, 
held the Sultanate for thirty -three years, and is still alive, 
in the custody of another brother, the present Sultan, after 
being deposed, in his turn, in 1909. 

Abdul Hamid proved to be the most mean, cunning, un- 
trustworthy, and cruel intriguer of the long dynasty of 
Othman. His mother was an Armenian. He was destitute 
of physical courage. He lived in constant fear of plots 
and assassination, and in suspicion of every one ajbout 
him. He trusted no one, least of all his ministers. He 
allowed no consultations between them. If he heard that 
two of them had met in private, his suspicions were aroused 
and they were called to account. He employed a huge 
army of spies, who reported to him directly and daily as 
to the doings of his ministers, of the ambassadors, and of 
any one else of importance. They fed him with reports, 
often false, on which he founded his actions. Plots "were 
invented in order to induce him to consent to measures 
which otherwise he would not have sanctioned. He 
claimed and exercised the right of secret assassination of 
his foes or suspected foes. No natives of Turkey were 
safe. They might disappear at any moment, as so many 


thousands had done by the order of the Sujtan, through 
some secret agent, either to death or exile. This was not so 
much from pure wickedness of heart as from fear of being 
assassinated himself, and the behef that his safety lay in 
exterminating his enemies before they had the chance of 
maturing their plans against himself. The ambassadors of 
foreign Powers had little influence with him, except so 
far as they were able to threaten the use of armed force, 
when, sooner than risk war, he gave way. He showed great 
cunning in playing off one ambassador against another, 
and was an adept in all the meafiest intrigues of diplomacy. 

Abdul Hamid's life was one of incessant labour. He 
devoted himself most assiduously to the work of his great 
office. Whatever his demerits, he was absolute master of 
his ministers and of his State. There never was a more 
centralized and meticulous despotism. As he trusted no 
one, he was overwhelmed by most trivial details and graver 
questions were neglected. He could not, indeed, administer 
the vast affairs of his Empire without information or advice 
from others, but no one knew from day to day who was 
the person on whose advice the Sultan overruled his osten- 
sible ministers, whether a favourite lady of his harem, or a 
eunuch, or some fanatical dervish, or an astrologer, or a 
spy. There was constant confusion in the State, arising 
from antagonism between the officials of the Porte and 
the minions of the palace. 

Outwardly, Abdul Hamid had the manners of a gentle- 
man, but inwardly he was as mean a villain as could be 
found in the purlieus of his capital. He was avaricious to 
an extreme, and though his expenditure was most lavish and 
his charities wide, he amassed immense wealth, which he 
invested secretly through German bankers against the rainy 
day which he expected . When it came and he was deposed, 
amid universal execration and loathing, his life was spared 
in the hope mainly of extracting from him these seci'et 
investments. He was not above receiving bribes himself. 
on a great scale, from financiers in search of concessions. 
He did nothing to check the chief evil of Turkish rule — 
the sale of offices and the necessity for officials to recoup 
themselves for their outlay by local exactions. Though 
he was not without some instincts for good government, 
and was free from any fanaticism, his system was such 
that everything went to the bad in his reign, and that 


many years of peace, after the treaty of Berlin, were 
attended by no improvement in the condition of his people, 
but the reverse. The result of his policy was that his 
Empire suffered a greater dismemberment than had been 
the bad fortune of any of his predecessors, and as he 
monopolized power, he must be held mainly responsible 
for its evil results. 

At the very outset of his reign Abdul Hamid was con- 
fronted with most serious questions affecting the integrity 
of his Empire. In 1875 an outbreak had occurred in Bosnia 
and Herzegovina, the result not merely of misgovernment 
by the Turkish pashas and officials, their rapacity and 
exactions, and of the system of farming the taxes, 'but 
of a vicious agrarian system. The great majority of 
landowners, though of the same Slav race as the rayas, 
the cultivators of the soil, were.' Moslems by religion. Their 
forbears had become so when the Ottomans conquered 
their State in order to save their property. They were 
as rapacious and fanatical as any landowners of Turkish 
race in any part of the Empire. No Christians were 
employed in the administration of these provinces. The 
evidence of the Christian rayas was not admitted in the 
courts of law. Justice or injustice could only be obtained 
by bribes. The police and other officials lived by 
extorting money from those Whom it was their duty to 

The bad harvest of 1874 was the immediate cause of 
the outbreak, for the farmers of the taxes refused to make 
any concessions. It was, in the first instance, directed 
rather against the Moslem landowners and the local Turkish 
officials than against the Sultan, but it rapidly developed 
into a general insurrection against the Sultan's government. 
Every effort was made by Austria and Russia to localize 
it and to induce the Porte to make concessions. Count 
Andrassy, the Austro -Hungarian Foreign Minister, drew up 
a scheme for the pacification of the two provinces. It 
proposed that the system of farming the taxes should be 
abolished, that the taxes raised in the provinces should 
be expended locally for their benefit, that complete religious 
equality should be established, and that a mixed commis- 
sion should be appointed to supervise the carrying out of 
these reforms. The scheme was agteed to by Russia, Great 
Britain, and the other Powers, and was presented to the 


Sultan^ who acquiesced in it. But it proved, like other 
promises of reform in Turkey, to be a dead letter. Not a 
single step was taken to give effect to any, part of it. The 
rebellion in the two provinces continued. The insurgents 
increased their demands. They insisted that one -third of the 
land should be given up to the rayas. The movement soon 
extended to Bulgaria, which was seething with dis- 

On April 21, 1876, an outbreak of Bulgarians occurred 
on the southern slopes of the Rhodope Mountains, of which 
Batak was the centre. It was put down without difficulty 
by a small Turkish force sent from Constantinople, under 
Achmet Agha, with little loss of life to the troops engaged, 
but with relentless cruelty, not only to the actual insurgents 
who surrendered on promise of life, but to the whole popu- 
lation of the district. Bands of Bashi-Bazouks, consisting 
of Tartars from the Crimea who had been planted in 
Bulgaria, were let loose on them. Indiscriminate murders, 
rapes, and rapine took place. Sixty villages were burnt. 
Twelve hundred persons, mostly women and children, took 
refuge in a church at Batak and wfere there burnt alive. 
In all about twelve thousand persons perished in these 
brutal reprisals. Achmet Agha received a high decora- 
tion from the Sultan for this performance. There was 
nothing new in this method of dealing with an outbreak 
by the Porte. It was in accord with its traditional system 
and policy to wreak vengeance on those revolting by orgies 
of cruelty, which would strike terror among subject races 
and act as a warning to them in the future. 

What was new in the case of the Bulgarians in 1876, 
and was fraught with misfortune to the Turkish cause, 
was that full and graphic accounts of the horrors com- 
mitted at Batak, written by Mr. Edwin Pears (now Sir 
Edwin), the correspondent at Constantinople of the Dally 
News, appeared in the columns of that paper. They pro- 
duced a profound impression on public opinion in England. 
Discredit was thrown on the story in the House of Commons 
by Mr. Disraeli, the Prime Minister, but it was fully con- 
firmed by Mr. MacGahan, another correspondent of the 
same paper, who visited the district, and later by Mr. 
Walter Baring, a member of the British Embassy at Con- 
stantinople, who, by the direction of the Government, made 
full personal inquiries on the spot. He described what 


had taken place as " perhaps the most heinous crime that 
has stained the history of the present century." 

It was also unfortunate for the Turks that Mr. Gladstone, 
the only survivor in the House of Commons of the British 
statesmen responsible for the Crimean War, who had 
recently retired from the leadership of the Liberal party, was 
fired by the description of these horrors in Bulgaria to 
emerge from his retirement and to take up the cause of 
the Christian population of European Turkey, for which 
he held that the treaty of Paris had made his country 

Meanwhile the horrors at Batak had also aroused ^the 
indignation of Russia and the fears of Austria. A 
fanatical outbreak of Moslems at Salonika resulted in the 
murder of the Consuls of France and Germany. Serbia 
and Montenegro, impelled by sympathy for their fellow 
Slavs in Bosnia, declared war against Turkey. A Turkish 
force defeated the Serbians, who appealed to Russia 
for assistance. At this stage another effort was made 
by Russia and Austria, supported by Germany, to lavert 
a general conflagration, and a scheme was embodied 
in what was known as the Berlin Memorandum for com- 
pelling the Porte to carry out the reforms which it had 
admitted to be necessary. The British Government, how- 
ever, very curtly refused to be a party to the scheme, on 
the ground that they had not been consulted in framing 
it and did not believe in its success. About this (time 
also the British fleet in the Mediterranean was ordered to 
Besika Bay, a step taken avowedly for the purpose pf 
protecting British subjects in the turmoil which had arisen, 
but which seemed to the Porte to indicate an intention to 
support them against the demands of the other Powers. 

Mr. Gladstone, fearing that these actions indicated the 
intention of the British Government to withdraw from the 
concert of Europe and to renew the separate policy which 
had led to the Crimean War, made a vehement attack on 
it in the House of Commons for refusing to agree to the 
Berlin Memorandum. Later, in September 1876, he pub- 
lished his well-known pamphlet on ** the Bulgarian 
Horrors," in which, with passionate language, he dwelt 
at length on the massacres at Batak and (denounced the 
Turkish Government. He protested that he could no longer 
bear his share of responsibility for the Crimean War. 


Otherwise he might be accused of " moral emnplicity in 
the basest and blackest outrages upon record in that 

Those [he wrote] who opposed the Crimean War are especially 
bound to remember that the treaty of Paris made Europe as a whole, 
and not Russia alone, responsible for the integrity and independence 
of the Ottoman Empire, which had given this licence to Turkish officers 
to rob, murder, and ravish in Bulgaria. ... As an old servant of the 
Crown and State, I entreat my countrymen, upon whom far more 
than perhaps any other people of Europe it depends, to require and 
insist that our Government, which has been working in one direction, 
shall work in the other, and shall apply all its vigour, in common with the 
other States of Europe, in obtaining the extinction of the Turkish executive 
power in Bulgaria. Let the Turks now carry away their abuses in the 
only possible manner, namely, by carrying off themselves. Their zapties 
and their mudirs, their bimbashis and their yuzbashis, their kaimakans 
and their pashas, one and all, bag and baggage, shall, I hope, clear out 
from the province they have desolated and profaned.* 

The pamphlet produced an immediate and profound 
effect on public opinion in Great Britain. It was followed 
up by speeches of the same force and eloquence on the 
part of the veteran statesman. Meetings took place in 
every part of the country, at which sympathy was expressed 
for the Christian jx>pulations of Turkey. The Turks were 
denounced for their cruelties and bad government. Resolu- 
tions were unanimously passed in accord with the policy 
recommended by Mr. Gladstone. Lord Stratford himself 
expressed sympathy with the movement, differing only in 
this from Mr. Gladstone, that England, in his view, should 
exert its influence not only for the Bulgarians, but for all 
the oppressed subject races in Turkey. Many of the most 
cultivated men in England joined in the movement quite 
irrespective of party politics. 

Mr. Disraeli, who was created Earl of Beaconsfield in 
the course of these events, on his retirement from the 
House of Commons, showed great coura<?e and persistence 
in resisting the movement. His sympathies lay wholly in 
the opposite direction. His Eastern policy was in accord 
with that of the previous generation of statesmen, such 
as Palmerston, and, indeed, Gladstone himself in his earlier 
stage of opinion, who believed that the maintenance of the 

' The Bulgarian Horrors and the Question in the East, 1876. 


Turkish Empire was essential to the integrhy of the BritisH 
Empire. He saw no reason for change. He dreaded the 
further advance of Russia. He did not believe in the 
honesty of the professions of its Emperor. He enforced 
his views at a public meeting at Aylesbury on Septem- 
ber t20th, and endeavoured to stem the movement. He 
scoffed at the Bulgarian horrors. He declared the per'pe- 
trators of them were not so bad as those who made them 
the subject of agitation for their political purposes. He 
was evidently prepared to support the Turks against any 
invasion of their country by Russia, and to renew the policy 
of the Crimean War. But it was in vain. 

Though the agitation promoted by Mr. Gladstone did 
not result in inducing the Government to join the other 
Powers in compelling the Turkish Government to concede 
autonomy to its Christian provinces, or to carry out reforms, 
it had two effects of great historical importance, which 
must be our justification for referring to the subject. It 
made impossible the renewal of the policy of the Crimean 
War — ^the armed support by Great Britain to the Turks 
against an invasion by Russia on behalf of the Christian 
population of the Balkans. It paralysed the hands of those, 
like Lord Beaconsfield, who desired to support the Turks 
and the status quo. On the other hand, it doubtless stimu- 
lated Russia to armed intervention, by making it clear that 
there would be no resistance on the part of Great Britain. 
Lord Beaconsfield 's Cabinet was divided on the subject. 
A majority of its members evidently concurred with Lord 
Derby, the Foreign Secretary, in opposition to war with 
Russia on behalf of Turkey. 

On September "Sist, the day after Lord Beaconsfield 
had delivered his fiery pro -Turkish speech at Aylesbury, 
Lord Derby, on behalf of the Government, in a despatch 
to the Ambassador at Constantinople, directed him' to 
inform the Porte that the atrocious crimes of the Turkish 
authorities and troops in Bulgaria had aroused the righteous 
indignation of the British people, and that Great Britain, 
as signatory to the treaty of Paris, could not be indifferent 
to them. He demanded that examples should be made 
of the perpetrators of these crimes. 

On October 30th Lord Derby further informed the Russian 
Government, through the ambassador at St. Petersburg, 
that, however strong the feeling in England against the 


Turkish cruelties, it would be superseded b'y a very different 
sentiment if it were believed that Constantinople was 
threatened, or that British interests in the Suez Canal were 
in any danger. This message to the Emperor could only 
be interpreted as meaning that the British Government 
would not interfere with any action that Russia might take 
against Turkey, provided it did not involve the conquest 
of Constantinople or endanger British interests in Egypt. 
It was evidently so understood by the Emperor, for imme- 
diately on receipt of the above despatch, on November 2nd, 
he gave his word of honour to the British Ambassador 
that he had no designs on Constantinople and no intentions 
whatever to annex Bulgaria. 

In spite of this explicit announcement on the part of 
the Emperor, in response to the despatch from the British' 
Foreign Minister, Lord Beaconsfield, a few days later, on 
November 9th, at the annual civic banquet at the Guildhall 
of London, delivered himself of a most bellicose speech 
on behalf of Turkey, practically threatening war with 
Russia, without any reference to the pacific assurance of 
the Czar, which, as we now know, was in his hands at the 
time when he made this speech. There could not well 
be a clearer intimation on the part of the British Premier 
that he had no belief in the good faith of the Emperor. 

This menacing speech of the British Prime Minister 
was telegraphed to Russia, with the result that the Czar 
was greatly incensed, and on the next day, November loth, 
he made a public pronouncement at Moscow to his people 
of the gravest importance, to the effect that, if he could 
not obtain adequate guarantees from the Porte for the 
protection of its Christian subjects, he would act inde- 
pendently of other Powers, relying on the loyalty of his 
people to support him. 

In the meantime, through Lord Derby^s efforts, it had 
been arranged with Russia and the other Great Powers 
that a Conference should be held at Constantinople of repre- 
sentatives of all the Powers, for the purpose of deciding 
w^hat administrative changes should be proposed to the 
Sultan, with a view to the comnion purpose — namely the 
better protection of his Christian subjects in Europe. 

Lord SaHsbury, as a member of the British Cabinet and 
Secretary of State for India, represented England at this 
Conference. It met at Constantinople on December 23, 


1876. On the day before the meeting of the Conference 
at Constantinople a firman was published by the Sultan, at 
the instance of Midhat Pasha, promulgating a scheme of 
constitutional reform, which had been agreed to by the 
ministers of the Porte in the short reign of Murad, but 
which Abdul Hamid on his accession had refused to 
sanction. A National Assembly was convoked, to be elected 
by universal suffrage, without distinction of race or 
religion, throughout the Empire. It was hoped to antici- 
pate the demands of the Conference by a scheme of reform 
wider than they were likely to advise. This was effected 
with perfect good faith by Midhat, who was earnestly in 
favour of reform. But subsequent events showed that the 
Sultan adopted this course for the purpose only of throw- 
ing dust in the eyes of the Conference, and with the full 
intention of setting aside the Constitution as soon as the 
Conference had broken up. The Conference might perhaps 
have acted more wisely in treating this act of the Sultan 
as an honest proposal, and in making it the basis of a wide 
reform of the Ottoman Empire. They held it to be a 
sham. They proceeded with their discussions as if it had 
not been issued. They preferred an alternative scheme 
of providing autonomous institutions for the Christian 
provinces of Turkey, and for the appointment of governors 
subject to the approval of the Great Powers. There was 
practically no difference of opinion at the Conference 
between the British and Russian delegates. Lord Salisbury 
and General Ignatief. The Conference, at their instance, 
reduced its demands on the Porte to the most moderate 

The Sultan refused point-blank to entertain the pro- 
posals of the Conference, on the ground that they inter- 
fered with his sovereign powers. He pleaded the new 
Constitution which he had just accorded to the Empire. 
There never was any intention on his part to make any 
concessions. He was under the belief that if war resulted 
with Russia from his refusal to agree to reforms his country 
would not stand alone. He took the policy of England 
from the speech of Lord Beaconsfield at the Guildhall, 
and not from Lord Derby or Lord Salisbury. Lord 
Beaconsfield had, in fact, thrown over his colleague. Lord 
Salisbury, in that unfortunate utterance and had insured 
the failure of the Conference at Constantinople. 


A few days after the break-up of the Conference, Midhat 
Pasha was ignominiously dismissed from office. The new 
Constitution did not long survive its author. In May, 
1877, Abdul Hamid suspended it and dismissed the National 
Assembly which had been convoked. During the two months 
of its existence its members had shown a determination to 
expose the scandalous abuses of the Hamidian system. Later 
Abdul Hamid trumped up a charge against Midhat of having 
been responsible for the murder of Sultan Aziz. Two men 
employed by that Sultan, a wrestler and a gardener, were 
suborned to confess that they strangled Aziz at the instance 
of Midhat. Midhat was tried by corrupt judges and was not 
allowed to cross-examine these men. He was found guilty 
and condemned to death. At the instance mainly of the 
British Government the sentence was commuted to banish- 
ment to Arabia. Midhat was there strangled by order of 
Abdul Hamid in 1882, and his embalmed head was sent to 
Constantinople, in order that the Sultan might be assured of 
his death. The two men who had confessed to the murder 
of Aziz were released and were pensioned by the Sultan. Sir 
Henry Elliot, who was British Ambassador at Constantinople 
at the time of the death of Sultan Aziz, put on record his 
conviction that it was a case of suicide, that the charge 
against Midhat was trumped up, and that the whole pro- 
ceedings are an indelible stain on Abdul Hamid. 

Meanwhile, in 1877, another attempt was made by the 
Great Powers to effect a settlement of the Eastern question. 
Count Schouvaloff was sent to London by the Emperor of 
Russia on a special mission for the purpose. Agreement 
w^as arrived at between the Powers. It was embodied in a 
protocol, and was presented to the Porte. It was promptly 
rejected on April loth by the Sultan as inconsistent with 
the treaty of Paris by interfering with the independence 
of the Ottoman Empire. Russia thereupon declared war 
against Turkey, justifying it in a dignified manifesto, on 
the ground that the Sultan, by rejecting the protocol, had 
defied Europe. Russia, therefore, held the strong position 
of acting on behalf of Europe. England was the only 
Power to take exception to this. Lord Derby, in a 
despatch to the Russian Government, said that he and his 
colleagues regarded the action of Russia as an obstacle to 
reform in Turkey, and held that the plight of the Christian 
population could not be improved by war— a most unfor- 


tunate prediction, as the result proved. More fortunate 
was the prediction of Mr. Gladstone at the close of a 
speech which he made in the House of Commons, on April 
24, 1877, immediately after the declaration of war by 
Russia, when moving a resolution intended to prevent the 
Government from taking up a hostile attitude to Russia 
in the coming war. 

I believe, for one [he said], that the knell of Turkish tyranny in these 
provinces (the Balkan provinces) has sounded. So far as human eyes 
can judge, it is about to be destroyed. The destruction may not come 
in the way or by the means that we should choose ; but come from what 
hands it may, I am persuaded that it will be accepted as a boon by 
Christendom and the world.' 

The answer of the Government to Mr. Gladstone was 
given in the debate by the Home Secretary, Sir Richard 
Cross, later Lord Cross. It showed that the policy of 
Lord Derby, and not that of Lord Beaconsfield, had pre- 
vailed in the Cabinet. The Government, he said, regretted 
the war which had been declared by Russia, and did not 
believe that it would do any good, but it would hot give 
support to either side, unless the Suez Canal or Egypt or 
Constantinople were threatened. 

It followed from this decision of the British Cabinet 
that the hopes which the Sultan had formed from the 
speeches of Lord Beaconsfield were not realized. He was 
left alone to fight against Russia in another attack on his 
Empire. Immediately after the declaration of war, on April 
24, 1877, two Russian armies invaded Turkey — ^the one in 
Europe, of two hundred and fifty thousand men, under the 
nominal command of the Grand Duke Nicholas, the other in 
Asia, of a hundred and fifty thousand men from the Caucasus, 
under that of the Grand Duke Michael. The former crossed 
the Pruth into Roumania, which was stiU nominally a part 
of the Ottoman Empire. But on April i 5th the Roumanian 
Chamber had given its assent to a convention with Russia 
providing for the passage of the Russian troops through 
the principality and otherwise giving' promise of friendly 
support. The Porte, as was to be expected, treated this 
as a hostile act, and directed the bombardment of Calafat^ 
a Roumanian fortress on the Danube. The Roumanians 

* House of Commons, April 24, 1877. 

ABDUL ttAMlD 32J' 

thereupon, on May 2 1st, declared war ag'ainst Turkey, They 
gave most effective support to the Russians throughout the 
campaign. Indeed, it may be fairly said from the course 
of the campaign that the invasion of Bulgaria would not 
have been successful without the help of the Roumanians. 

The Emperor of Russia had further prepared the way 
for the invasion of Turkey by securing the neutraUty of 
Austria -Hungary. At a personal meeting] in the previous 
year at Reichstadt, he had assured the Emperor of Austria 
that he had no intention of taking possession of Con- 
stantinople. He further promised that Bosnia and Herze- 
govina would be handed over for occupation by Austria- 
Hungary as a reward for neutrality in the event of success 
in his war against the Turks. 

Owing to unprecedented inundations in the valley of 
the Danube, it was not tiU two months after the commence- 
ment of the campaign that the Russian army was able to 
cross that river. It did so at two points, the one in the 
Dobrudscha, the other at Hirsova. In neither case did it 
meet with serious opposition. The Turkish army of defence 
was httle inferior in numbers to that of the Russians, but 
its general, Abdul Kerim, proved to be quite incompetent. 
He spread his forces in detachments over a front of five 
hundred miles, arid was too late in concentrating them. 
The Russians, after capturing Nicopolis, the Turkish strong- 
hold on the Danube, advanced into Bulgaria and captured 
Tirnovo, its ancient capital. Everywhere they were received 
by the Bulgarians with rapturous demonstrations of delight 
at the prospect of deliverance from Ottoman rule. 

General Gourko, with a flying corps, then made a very 
hazardous but successful march across the Balkans by the 
Hainkoi Pass, and advanced into Bulgaria along the Trudja 
Valley as far as Eski Saghra. Thence, turning back, he 
attacked the more important Shipka Pass from the south, 
and defeated a Turkish force in occupation of it. Mean- 
while, early in July, the main Russian army from Tirnovo 
came in contact at Plevna, twenty miles south of the Danube, 
with a Turkish army of fifty thousand men under Osman 
Pasha, who had been sent in relief of Nicopolis, but was 
too late for the purpose. 

Plevna was not a fortress. It was a strong natural 
position, where the Turks entrenched their army behind 
earthworks and redoubts with great engineering skill, and 


•where they maintained an obstinate and memorable defence 
for nearly five months, the most striking incident . of the 
campaign of 1877. Three unsuccessful assaults were made 
by the Russians, assisted by a Roumanian army, in which 
great losses were incurred. Thereupon, by the advice of 
General Todleben, the hero of the defence of Sebastopol 
in the Crimean War, the attempt to take these works at 
Plevna by assault was given up, and it was subjected to a 
close investment. The occupation of the Shipka Pass by 
Gourko prevented the advance of a Turkish army in relief 
of Plevna, in spite of successive attacks by the Turkish army 
under Suleiman Pasha. As a result, after five months of 
heroic resistance, Osman Pasha found himself in great straits 
for want of food for his army. He determined to make a 
great effort to break through the lines of the investing 
army. The sortie failed, and Osman and his whole remain- 
ing army of thirty -two thousand men were compelled to 
surrender on January 9, 1878. This had the effect of 
releasing the Russian army in front of Plevna. General 
Gourko and the main part of the Russian army thereupon 
marched to Sofia. General Skobeleff, in command of 
another army, determined to force his way across the Balkan 
range. An army of ninety thousand Turks under another 
Pasha was stationed at the southern end of the Shipka 
Pas? and barred his way. Directing a part of his army to 
made a feint attack along the Shipka Pass, Skobeleff led 
the remainder by two sheep tracks distant about six miles 
from the pass, and crossing the mountains, was able to attack 
the enemy on the flank at Shenova. The Turks were 
defeated and their whole army was compelled to surrender. 
By this brilliant manoeuvre of Skobeleff, the Grand Duke 
Nicholas, in nominal command of the whole Russian army, 
was able to advance without further opposition to Adria- 
nople. He took possession of it on January 28th. Mean- 
while the Turks met with further defeats from the Serbians 
and Montenegrins. The former captured the important 
town of Nisch. The latter captured Spizza, in the bay of 
Aniivari, and Dulcigno, in the Adriatic. 

hi Asia the Turks were no more fortunate than in Europe. 
Their army under Muktar Pasha was little inferior in 
numbers to that of the Russians, but it was divided between 
Kars, Ardahan, and Erzeroum. The Russians in the course 
of the campaign of 1877 succeeded in successively cap- 


tUring these important fortresses and in getting possession 
of nearly the whole of the districts inhabited by Armenians. 

By the middle of January 1878 the resistance of the 
Turks was practically at an end in both continents. They 
were compelled to sue for peace and to appeal for the 
mediation of the other Powers of Europe. On January 31st 
an armistice was agreed on. 

The capture of Adrianople and the fact that there was 
no Turkish army capable of resisting the further advance 
of the Russians to Constantinople caused great alarm to 
the British Government. Opinion in England, which had 
not supported Lord Beaconsfield in his desire to renew the 
policy of the Crimean War, and to assist the Turks against 
the invasion of Bulgaria by the Russians, now veered round, 
at least among the wealthier and a large section of the 
middle class, and declared itself vehemently opposed to 
the occupation of Constantinople, which appeared to be 
imminent, even if it should be only of a temporary 

The British fleet at Besika Bay was ordered to enter the 
Dardanelles. The House of Commons was asked to vote 
six millions for war purposes. Every preparation was 
made for war. Russia replied to these demonstrations by 
advancing its army nearer to Constantinople. The head- 
quarters of the Grand Duke Nicholas were established at 
San Stefano, a village on the shore of the Marmora, within 
sight of Constantinople. A portion of the British fleet then 
took up a position near to Prince's Island, also within sight 
of the capital. The position between the two countries, 
England and Russia, was therefore most critical. 

Meanwhile negotiations took place directly between Russia 
and the Porte. Terms of peace were offered and agreed to, 
and on March 3, 1878, a treaty was signed between the 
two Powers at San Stefano. It was in accord with the 
promises which had been made to the British Government 
by the Czar. Constantinople, the province of Thrace, and 
Adrianople were left in possession of the Turks, and the 
capital was not even to be temporarily occupied by the 
Russian army. Bulgaria was not to become a Russian 
province or even an independent State. But a great Bul- 
garia from the Danube southward, with frontiers on the 
Black Sea and the ^gean Sea, and including the greater 
part of Thrace, was constituted as an autonomous State, 


subject to the nominal suzerainty, of the Sultan, under A 
prince to be elected by its people and approved by, Russia. 
As thus constituted, it would cut off the Porte from direct 
junction and communication by land with its remaining 
possessions in the Balkan peninsula, such as Macedonia, 
Epirus, and Albania. Serbia and Montenegro were to be 
greatly enlarged and both were to be independent States, 
Bosnia and Herzegovina were to be endowed with autono-* 
mous institutions while remaining subject to the Porte, 
Reformed administration was to be secured for the remaining 
Balkan provinces. No extension was conceded to Greece, 
but Thessaly, Epirus, and Crete were included in the pro- 
vision of reformed administration. The Roumanians were 
very shabbily treated after the valuable assistance they had 
rendered to the Russian army. The part of Bessarabia, in- 
habited largely by Roumanians, which had been taken from 
Russia by the treaty of Paris and added to Moldavia, was to 
be restored to the Czar, together with a small strip which 
brought Russia up to the Danube as a riverain State, In 
exchange, Roumania was to be content with the barren 
Dobrudscha, sparsely inhabited by Bulgtoans and Turks, 
Roumania was to be an independent State. In Asia, Kars, 
Ardahan, Bayezid, and Batoum, and their districts were to 
be ceded to Russia. Erzeroum was to be restored to 
Turkey. An indemnity for the war of twelve millions 
sterling was to be paid by Turkey. 

The pubUcation of these terms did not allay the appre- 
hensions of the British Government. They were regarded, 
in the first instance, as meaning the complete dismember- 
ment of Turkey in Europe. Lord Beaconsfield and the 
Turkophil members of the Government believed that a 
great Bulgaria would be completely under the influence of 
Russia, and would be used as a stepping-stone for the 
ultimate acquisition of Constantinople by that Power. They 
could not understand, what was often insisted upon by Mr. 
Gladstone in his speeches, that the best barrier against 
the advance of Russia, in the Balkan peninsula, would be 
a self-governing, contented, and prosperous State, and that 
the larger it was the better it would serve that purpose. The 
Government, under these misapprehensions, determined to 
resist the creation of a big Bulgaria, even at the risk of 
war with Russia. They maintained that the treaty, of San 
Stefano was completely at variance with the treaty of 

AiBD.UL HAMlfi ^ii 

Paris of 1856, and must be revised by a new Congtress of 
the ^reat Powers of Europe. 

The Russian Government would not agree to submit 
the whole treaty to a Congress, but only some parts of it. 
A collision between Russia and England seemed to be 
imminent. War preparations were continued by the latter, 
and Indian troops were sent to Malta. Lord Derby, the 
Foreign Minister, and Lord Carnarvon, the Colonial Secre- 
tary, who were opposed to war, resigned, and the war party 
in the Cabinet prevailed. But the Czar was very averse to 
war, whatever might be the wishes of his g'enerals at the 
front before Constantinople. At the last moment terms 
of reference to a Congress were agreed upon between the 
two Governments, and war was averted. By an agreement 
which was intended to be secret, but which was divulged 
to the Press in England by an unscrupulous employe at the 
Foreign Office, the British Government promised to support, 
at the Congress, the main clauses of the treaty of San 
Stefano, subject to a concession, on the part of Russia, as 
to Bulgaria. Under this agreement, the intended big Bul- 
garia was divided into three parts. That between the 
Danube and the Balkan range was to be dealt with as 
proposed in the San Stefano treaty. It was to be an 
autonomous State under the suzerainty of the Sultan^ with 
a prince elected by its people. A second part of it, imme- 
diately south of the Balkan range, to be called Eastern 
Roumeha, was to be an autonomous province more directly 
under the control of the Porte . A third, the part bordering 
on the ^gean Sea and containing a mixed population of 
Bulgarians, Serbians, Greeks, and (in parts) Moslems, was to 
be restored to the Porte subject to conditions for better ad- 
ministration equally with other Turkish provinces in Europe. 
This part has since been generally spoken of as Macedonia. 

The Congress of the Powers met at Berlin on June 13, 
1878, under the presidency of Prince Bismarck. It was 
the most important gathering of the kind since the Congress 
of Vienna in 1 8 1 5 . The Great Powers were represented 
by their leading statesmen. England, by Lord Beacons - 
field and Lord Salisbury ; Russia, by Prince GortchakoflF 
and Count Schouvaloff ; France, by its Prime Minister, 
Waddington ; Italy, by Count Corti, its Foreign Minister ; 
Austria, by Count Andrassy. The Porte, apparently, was 
unable to find a competent Turk for the purpose. 


It was represented by Karatheodori, a Greek, and by, 
Mehemet Ali, a renegade German. Germany, it need not 
be said, was represented by Bismarck, who acted as the 
'honest "broker.' Although apparently invested with un- 
limited authority to deal with all questions arising out of 
the treaty of San Stefano, the Congress found that its hands 
were practically tied behind its back by the agreement 
between England and Russia. It had no other option than 
to cut down the big Bulgaria under the tripartite scheme 
already described, which was the essence of the Anglo - 
Russian agreement. As regards the artificially created 
province of Eastern Roumelia, Lord Beaconsfield, who 
throughout the proceedings of the Congress championed 
the Turkish cause, insisted that the Porte was to have the 
right to maintain garrisons in its frontier fortresses. He 
threatened to break up the Congress if this was not con- 
ceded. Russia, though strongly opposed to this, ultimately 
gave way. This was a triumph for Beaconsfield, the value 
of which we can now appreciate, with the knowledge that 
no advantage was ever taken by the Porte of this permission 
to garrison Eastern Roumelia. 

The most important point on which the Congress effected 
a change in the treaty of San Stefano was in respect of 
Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the instance of Bismarck, 
these two provinces, instead of being endowed with 
autonomous government, were handed over to Austria for 
occupation and administration, while remaining nominally 
a part of the Turkish Empire. Montenegro was to lose 
half of the territory conceded to it at San Stefano. ^ The 
claims of Greece for a definite extension of its territory 
were championed by the representative of France, but were 
opposed by Lord Beaconsfield. The Congress contented 
itself with a recommendation to the Sultan that the 
boundaries of Greece should be extended so as to include 
Thessaly and a part of Epirus. Organic reforms of adminis- 
tration and law were to be carried out by the Porte in the 
European provinces of the Empire on the recommendation 
of a Commission to be appointed by the Great Powers. 

The Congress confirmed to Russia the acquisition of 
the provinces in Asia above referred to, and the restora- 
tion of Erzeroum and Bayezid to the Porte. The Armenians 

* Bismarck induced Lord Beaconsfield to propose this to the Congress. 


were guaranteed good government and protection from the 
raids of Kurds and Circassians. Some other amendments 
of the San Stefano treaty of no great importance were 
decided upon, and on July 13, 1878, the treaty of Berlin 
was signed by the representatives of all the Powers, after 
exactly a month of discussion. 

After his success at the Congress in respect of the 
Roumelian garrisons, obtained by the threat of war, 
Beaconsfield was able to return to England with a flourish 
of trumpets, boasting that he had succeeded in obtaining 
' peace with honour.' Though the treaty of Berlin nullified 
that of San Stefano as regards the big Bulgaria, it did, 
in fact, ratify the virtual dismemberment of the Ottoman 
Empire in respect of four -fifths of its territory in Europe 
and freed about eight millions of people from its rule. This 
great achievement was due to Russia alone, and the gains 
to that Power in Bessarabia and Armenia were in com- 
parison small and unimportant. The splitting up of 
Bulgaria, which constituted the main difference between 
the two treaties, was due to British diplomacy, backed by 
threats of war. But the result obtained did not stand the 
test of even a short experience. Two of the Bulgariati 
provinces thus torn asunder were reunited seven years later. 
More recently, the parts of Macedonia and Thrace restored 
to full Turkish rule by the treaty of Berlin have, within 
the present century, again been freed from it, and have 
been annexed to Serbia and Greece in about equal portion. 

It will be seen from this brief statement that by the treaty 
of Berhn Great Britain obtained nothing for itself, unless 
it were that the division of Bulgaria was of permanent 
value to it in strengthening the hold of the Turks on 
Constantinople, a contention which has not been confirmed 
by subsequent events. It did, however, succeed in getting 
something out of the general scramble for territory. By 
another secret treaty which, to the amazement of the 
members of the Congress at Berlin, was made public during 
their sittings, the Porte agreed to hand over to the occupa- 
tion of England the island of Cyprus, on terms very 
similar to those under which Bosnia and Herzegovina were 
placed under the charge of Austria. The occupation of 
the island was limited to the time during which Kars and 
Ardahan should be in possession of Russia. As a con- 
dition of this occupation, Great Britain guaranteed to the 


Porte its Asiatic possessions. But this guarantee waiS con- 
ditional on good government being secured to the Armenian 
population in the east of Asia Minor, a condition which 
has never, in fact, been fulfilled. The treaty was justified 
in the British Parliament on the ground that Cyprus would 
be of great value as a place d'armes for the British 
army in the event of attack by Russia on the Asiatic 
provinces of Turkey or of an attack from any quarter 
on Egypt, The Porte was guaranteed by the British 
Government an annual tribute so long as the occupation 
should last, based on the average revenue which it had 
received from the island. The proceeds were assigned 
for payment of the interest on the loan raised by Turkey 
during the Crimean War, guaranteed by England and 
France. The arrangement was made hastily and without 
due inquiry, with the result that the island has been 
burthened with a charge far in excess of its past pay- 
ments to the Porte, and the British taxpayers have been 
compelled to bear a part of the burthen. An occupation 
such as that of Cyprus was almost certain to become per- 
manent, and in 19 14, during the existing war, the island 
was permanently annexed by the British Government. 

Looking back at the events which led to the liberation 
of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule and to all the other changes 
sanctioned by the treaty of Berlin, it must now be fully 
admitted that the agitation which Mr. Gladstone promoted 
against the Turkish Government had a great ultimate effect. 
It averted the use of armed force by Great Britain for 
the purpose of preventing" the intervention of Russia on 
behalf of the Christian population of the Balkans. In a 
great speech in the House of Commons in review of the 
treaty of Berlin, Mr. Gladstone deUvered himself of this 
verdict on it : — 

Taking the whole provisions of the treaty of Berlin together, I must 
thankfully and joyfully acknowledge that great results have been achieved 
in the diminution of human misery and towards the establishment of 
human happiness and prosperity in the East. 

As regards the conduct of England at the Congress he 
added these weighty words : — 

I say, Sir, that in this Congress of the Great Powers the voice of 
England has not been heard in unison with the constitution, the history, 


and the character of England. On every question that arose, and that 
became a subject of serious contest in the Congress, or that could lead to 
any practical results, a voice has been heard from Lord Beaconsfield and 
Lord Salisbury which sounded in the tones of Metternich, and not in the 
tones of Mr. Canning, or of Lord Palmerston, or of Lord Russell. . . » 
I do affirm that it was their part to take the side of liberty, and I do also 
affirm that, as a matter of fact, they took the side of servitude.' 

Lord Salisbury himself lived to make the admission that 
England in its Eastern policy ** put its money on the 
wrong horse. ^' ' 

The three years which followed the treaty of 3erlin 
were spent by the Great Powers in the endeavour to give 
effect to its provisions, by settling the boundaries between 
Turkey and its disjecta membra, and other important details. 
Two of these questions led to great difficulty. The Porte, 
as was to be expected, put every obstruction hi the way 
and resorted to its accustomed dilatory methods. By the 
treaty Montenegl-o had been guaranteed a port in the 
Adriatic. It was not till 1880, after the return of Mr. 
Gladstone to power in England, that effective pressure was 
put on the Porte. He induced the other Powers to join 
in sending a combined fleet to the Adriatic to blockade 
its coast as a demonstration against the Porte, This, how- 
ever, was not effective for the purpose. It mattered little 
to the Porte that its coast in the Adriatic was blockaded. 
It was not till the British Government threatened to send 
it9 fleet to Asia Minor, and by seizing some custom houses 
there to cut off suppUes of money, that the Sultan was 
brought to book. Eventually the port of Dulcigno and 
the district round it were ceded to Montenegro and its 
claim for access to the Adriatic was conceded. 

The case of Greece caused even greater difficulty. The 
treaty of Berlin, it has been shown, contained no specific 
promise or guarantee of a cession of territory to Greece. It 
merely made a recommendation to that effect, leaving" it to 
the discretion of the Porte whether to accede to it or not. 
As Greece had taken no part in the wiar of liberation of 
the Balkans, it had no special claim', except such as 
arose from a wish of the Powers to avoid complications in 
the future. It was admitted, however, by the Porte that 
something should be done in the way of rectifying its 

» Parliamentary Report, House of Commons, July 30, 1878. 


frontier in this direction . Another conference of the Powers 
"It Berlin reported in favour of drawing the frontier line 
so as to include in the kingdom of Greece the whole of 
both Thessaly and Epirus. This was gladly assented to by 
Greece, but was rejected by the Sultan. The Powers, 
however, were not willing to back up their proposals by 
armed force. The French Government, which had sup- 
ported the claim of Greece at the Congress, now drew 
back. Eventually, after two years of diplomatic labour, 
a compromise was arrived at, mainly at the instance of 
the British Ambassador to the Porte, Mr. Goschen, who 
showed infinite skill and patience in dealing with the Sultan. 
A line of frontier was agreed to, which conceded to Greece 
the whole of Thessaly and about a third part of Epirus. 
This line excluded Janina and other districts inhabited 
by Moslem Albanians, and also other districts where Greeks 
predominated, but under the circumstances it was the most 
which could be effected without a resort to arms. Greece 
had to wait some years before a more complete settlement 
could be secured to her. 

As regards the organic local reforms in administration 
and law which, under the treaty of Berlin, were to be carried 
out in the European provinces of the Empire, a Commission 
was appointed by the Great Powers in 1880. The British 
representative was Lord Edmund Fitzmaurice, later Lord 
Fitzmaurice'. He took the leading part in d^rawing up a large 
and complete scheme of reform, which was ag'reed to by 
the Commission and was presented to the Sultan for his 
approval in accordance with the treaty. 

There followed, after these proceedings, a period of 
tw'enty-eight years, up to 1908, during which Turkey, under 
the rule of Abdul Hamid, was free from external war, and 
opportunity was therefore afforded for giving effect to the 
promises by the Porte, guaranteed by the treaty of Berlin, 
of reforms and improved administration in Macedonia and 
other Balkan provinces left in its possession, and also 
in Crete and Armenia. Except as regards Crete, not 
a single step, however, was ever taken by the Porte to 
give effect to these promises. The scheme of organic 
reform was never approved by the Sultan. It was treated 
as waste -paper, like every other promise of reform in 
Turkey. Disorder and misgovernment continued unabated. 

Several events soon took place which showed that the 


disintegration of the Ottoman Empire was still slowly but 
surely proceeding. The most important of these was ,in 
relation to Bulgaria. The reduced and mutilated province 
under that name, as settled by the treaty of Berlin, chose 
as its ruler, with the consent of the Powers, Prince 
Alexander of Battenberg, a young man of great merit 
and promise. Eastern Roumelia, cut off from Bulgaria, 
was also constituted as a separate province, more imme- 
diately dependent on the Porte, but with autonomous 
government, under a Christian governor nominated by the 
Sultan. But this ingenious scheme of Lord Beaconsfield 
did not work in practice. Economic difficulties, arising 
from separate tariffs, equally with national aspirations, 
necessitated union. The representative chambers of both 
provinces were incessant in their demands for this. 

The union of the two States was now opposed by Russia. 
But, strange to say, it was supported by Great Britain, 
at the instance of Lord Salisbury, who had been associated 
with Lord Beaconsfield at the Congress of Berlin in in- 
sisting on the severance of the two provinces. He had 
since been persuaded by the British Ambassador a,t Con- 
stantinople, Sir William White, a far-seeing statesman who 
had intimate knowledge of the Balkans, that a united 
and strong Bulgaria would^ in the future, be a bar 
to the ambitions of Russia against what remained of 

Fortunately for the Bulgarians, the Sultan arrived 
at the same conclusion. When, therefore, in 1885, the 
two provinces insisted on union, and a Bulgarian army 
occupied Eastern Roumelia, with the full assent of its popu- 
lation, who deported the Turkish governor to Constanti- 
nople, the Sultan made no real opposition. He was 
persuaded to accept the union as a fait accompli. I'he 
diplomatic difficulty arising out of the treaty of Berlin 
was evaded by the Sultan in 1886 nominating the Prince of 
Bulgaria as governor of Roumelia. Thenceforth the repre- 
sentative chambers of the two States met as one body at 
Sofia, and the union was practically effected. This caused 
great discontent in Serbia, which was jealous of the 
aggrandizement of its neighbour and dema,nded territorial 
compensation. War consequently broke out between Serbia 
and Bulgaria. After a three days* battle at Slivnitza, the 
Bulgarians, contrary to all expectations, were completely 



successful, under the able generalship of Prince Alexander . 
Belgrade lay open to the victorious army. But the Great 
Powers then intervened and insisted on terms of 
peace between the belligerents, based upon the stalus quo 
before the war. The Emperor of Russia deeply resented 
the action of his relative, Prince Alexander. The Prince 
was kidnapped and was forcibly conveyed out of the 
country and compelled to abdicate. There ensued a strong 
movement in his favour in Bulgaria. He was Recalled 
from exile. But at this critical moment of his career the 
Prince appears to have lost his nerve, and instead of stand- 
ing firm and relying on the support of the people, for 
whom he had done so much, he gave way to the demands 
of the Czar, and retired into obscurity as a cavalry officer 
in the Austrian army. In his place Prince Ferdinand of 
Saxe-Coburg was elected as ruler of the united province, 
subject to the nominal suzerainty of the Sultan. 

Another cause of frequent international difficulty during 
the reign of Abdul Hamid was that of the island of Crete. 
The Powers at Berlin had ref;i:^sed to include ^t in the 
kingdom of Greece or even to recommend this course to 
the Porte. They contented themselves with a provision in 
the treaty guaranteeing to the island a reformed administra- 
tion under a Christian governor. In compliance with this, 
Photiades Pasha, a Greek subject of the Porte of adminis- 
trative capacity, was appointed governor, and a representa- 
tive chamber was constituted. F.or a few years the island 
enjoyed peace and prosperity. But later, on the retirement 
of Photiades, the Sultan endeavoured to restore his authority 
in the island by appointing a Moslem governor land sus- 
pending the national assembly. Insu^rrection followed in 
1896. The Greeks of the island, who formed by far the 
greater number of its inhabitants, were supported by the 
Government and people of Greece. War broke out in 
,1897 between the Porte and Greece. It was the first 
occasion on which the Turkish army, which had been 
trained by German officers, under command of General 
von der Goltz, was able to show its quality. In thirty 
days it completely defeated the Greek army and occupied 
Thessaly and Epirus. The Powers thereupon intervened 
and prevented the Porte from taking advantage of its 
success. Peace was agiain insisted upon between the 
belligerents. Greece was compelled to submjit to a small 


rectification of its frontier and to pay the cost of the war, 
estimated at four milHons sterling. 

The Turks thereupon evacuated Thessaly, and with them 
departed the last of the Moslem beys or landowners . 
Though Greece had at the time a navy superior in strength 
to that of the Porte, it effected nothing in the war by sea. 
Turkish troops had been able to invade Crete, and were in 
practical occupation of it. The four Powers, not including 
Germany, whose Kaiser was already coquetting with the 
Sultan, with a view to a future military alliance, then 
blockaded the island, occupied ports on its coast, and ulti- 
mately compelled the Turkish troops to evacuate it. In 
1898 Prince George of Greece, a son of the King of 
Greece, was appointed governor of the island at the 
suggestion of the Powers, and the native assembly was 
recalled into existence. This arrangement was obviously of 
a temporary nature. It lasted with growing friction till the 
revolution in Turkey in 1908. When Austria annexed 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Cretan Assembly proclaimed 
annexation to Greece, and thenceforth the union of the 
island to the present kingdom was complete and was fully 
recognized by the Powers. 

The Great Powers were less successful in securing 
performance of the promises of the Sultan under the treaty 
of Berlin in the case of the Armenians. The Porte had 
undertaken by the treaty to carry out, without delay, " the 
amelioration and reforms demanded for provinces inhabited 
by Armenians and to guarantee their security against Kurds 
and Circassians." Periodic reports showing what reforms 
were effected were to be laid before the Powers, who 
were also to superintend their application. These pro- 
visions were the more important as they were practically 
the conditions on which the provinces of Erzeroum and 
Bayezid, which had been occupied by the Russians in their 
invasion of the Asiatic provinces of Turkey in 1877, were 
restored to the Porte. It may be taken that, if the Powers 
had conceived it possible that these promises would not 
be carried out, they would not have been go cruel as to 
restore these two provinces, inhabited so largely by 
Armenians, to Turkish rule. Lord Salisbury in 1888 did, 
in fact, use strong language to the Porte on the subject 
of Armenia, and threatened armed force if reforms were 
not carried out. In spite of this threat, no reforms were 


effected. Mr. Gladstone, when he came into power again 
in 1892, endeavoured to bring' pressure on the Porte in 
favour of the Armenians, but he met with no support from 
other Powers. Bismarck at last intimated to him that the 
subject had better be allowed to drop. Russia, it seems, 
was at that time engaged in the effort to induce the 
Armenians inhabiting the districts round Kars, which had 
been ceded to it under the treaty of Berlin, to give up their 
national Church and to join the Greek Church. It was 
little disposed to give support to the Armenians who 
remained subjects of the Porte. 

As a result, the Armenians obtained no valid protection, 
and the Kurds and Circassians continued their raids against 
these peaceful people. Later, suspicion of Armenian in- 
surrection arose in the mind of Sultan Abdul Hamid. There 
v;cre a few isolated cases in which insignificant numbers 
of Armenians, prompted by their compatriots across the 
frontier in Russia, formed conspiracies against the Turkish 
Government. But these feeble sparks were extinguished 
by the Turkish officials on the spot without difficulty. They 
were made the excuse, however, by the Sultan for a new 
policy of massacre directed against these unfortunate 
people. Massacres on a small scale began in 1889. 

In 1890, when the writer was at Constantinople, he was 
favoured with an interview by the Sultan, who spoke on 
the subject of the Armenians, and sent a message to Mr. 
Gladstone, conveying his most positive assurances that he 
was animated by none but the most friendly feelings towards 
these people, and that he was determined to secure to 
them good government. Such assurances from this quarter 
were but proofs of malevolent intentions. Certain it is that 
the tale of official massacres was thenceforth for some 
years a continuous one. Abdul Hamid appears to have 
deliberately made up his mind, if not to settle the Armenian 
question by extermination of the Armenians, .once for all, 
at least to inflict such a lesson on them as would never be 
forgotten. This policy culminated in 1894. Commissioners 
were then sent into the country inhabited by Armenians with 
directions to summon the Moslems of the district ,to the 
mosques and to inform them of the Sultan's wishes and 
plans. They were to be told that liberty was given to 
them to take by force the goods of their Armenian neigh- 
bours, and if there was any resistance to kill them. It 



was not an appeal to the fanaticism of the Moslems, but 
rather to their greed for loot and to their jealousy of their 
more prosperous neighbours. 

At the same time every precaution was taken to prevent 
the news of these wholesale acts of rapine and massacre 
from being knov/n to the outside world. No strangers or 
visitors were allowed to enter the country where these scenes 
were taking place, and the most rigorous censorship was 
applied to all letters coming from them. Save in a few 
rare cases where the mollahs refused to obey, in the belief 
that the Koran did not justify such acts, the instructions 
were acted on and the policy of murder and robbery was 
preached in the mosques. In the province of Bitlis twenty- 
four Armenian villages were destroyed by Zeki Pasha. 
Their inhabitants were butchered. Zeki was decorated by 
the Sultan for this infamy. In 1895, and again in 1896, 
wholesale massacres of Armenians took place, organized 
by Sultan Abdul Hamid, and effected through the agency of 
Shakir Pasha and other officials, civil and military. It 
was estimated that a hundred thousand Armenians were 
victims of these massacres, either directly or indirectly by 
starvation and disease which followed them. Constanti- 
nople itself, on August 22 and 28, 1896, was the scene of 
an organized attack on the Armenian quarter. It was 
invaded by gangs of men armed with clubs, who bludgeoned 
every Armenian to be found there. In vain did the ambas- 
sadors protest and appeal to the treaty of Berlin. In 
vain did Mr. Gladstone issue, for the last time, from his 
retirement and appeal to public opinion on behalf of these 
people, designating the Sultan as Abdul the Great Assassin. 
No Power was willing to use force or even to threaten 
force on behalf of the Armenians. Even Russia was dis- 
inclined to do so. These people had no wish to be 
absorbed by Russia. An Armenian of gaod position and 
wide acquaintance with his countrymen in Asia Minor, when 
Questioned by the writer on this point in 1890, said that 
the Armenians had no desire to become subjects of Russia. 
Tliey v/ould prefer to reniain under the Turks, if England 
would hold a big stick over the Sultan ; but if England 
would not do this, they would prefer Russia, or the devil 
himself, to the Turk. 

It need not be said that these massacres of 1890-5 
have been completely put into the shade by the far more 


extensive and bloody massacres of 191 5, and that the policy 
of deporting the whole population of Armenians has been 
carried to a terrible conclusion. 

There remains the case of the Macedonians and other 
people of the Balkans who were replaced by the treaty of 
Berlin under Ottoman rule. The difficulty of dealing with 
them was aggravated by the fact that the population of 
these districts was not homogeneous. Bulgarians, Greeks, 
and Serbians were in many districts mixed up, each with 
separate villages or communities, so that no definite 
geographical lines could be drawn between them. The 
neighbouring States of Bulgaria, Serbia:, and Greece were 
furiously jealous of one another, each claiming these inter- 
vening districts. This, however, was no excuse to the 
Porte for the continued misgovernment of these provinces. 
Their unfortunate populations, while enduring the evils of 
misrule, were able to compare their position under Turkish 
rule with that of their more fortunate neighbours who 
had been liberated from it by the treaty of Berlin, and 
were enjoying all the benefits of self-government in 
Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece. 

The writer had the opportunity of personally forming an 
opinion on this subject. In 1887 and 1890 he paid visits 
to Greece, and in 1890 he visited Bulgaria on his way 
to Constantinople, staying a few days at Sofia and Philip - 
popolis. In both cases he was able to compare the new 
condition of things with what he recollected of his previous 
visits to these districts in 1857. Nothing could be more 
striking and more satisfactory to those who had felt con- 
dence in the principle of self-government and of democratic 
institutions. The change in Bulgaria wlas the more remark- 
able as it had been efi"ected in the twelve years which had 
elapsed since the treaty of Berlin. In these few years the 
Bulgarians had equipped themselves with the machinery 
of a progressive democratic community, with schools and 
colleges, and with compulsory education. Roads, harbours, 
and improvements of all kinds were in course of construction. 
The Tartars and Circassians who had been planted in 
Bulgaria by the Porte after the conquests by Russia of 
the Crimea and the Caucasus, and who were the main 
instruments of the horrors of Batak, had again been trans- 
planted by the Porte in Asia Minor. But the indigenous 
Moslems^ whether of Slav or Turkish race^ in spite of 


vehement exhortations of their mollahs, remained and were 
well treated by the Christian population now in posses- 
sion of power. They had no cause for complaint. They 
were represented in the National Assembly of Bulgaria by 
not a few men of their own religion. 

The Bulgarian peasants, who, under Turkish rule, had in 
many parts been driven from the fertile plains into the 
Rhodope Mountains and had there formed congested districts, 
had migrated again into the plains and were extending cul- 
tivation. A member of the Bulgarian Chamber of Deputies, 
when asked by the writer what his constituency of peasants 
thought of the change since old Turkish times, replied 
that they all admitted that though taxation had not been 
reduced there was this great difiference : Under the Turkish 
regime the taxes went into the pockets of the Turkish 
ofificials and of the Sultan's gang of robbers at Constan- 
tinople, and the peasants who paid got no return for them. 
But under the new regime they had full return for their 
money in schools and roads, with other improvements, and 
in the protection of life and property. Brigandage, which 
used to be rampant, had wholly ceased, and justice could 
be obtained from the magistrates without bribes. 

In Greece there was everywhere the same story, the 
same comparison of the present with the past, to the 
immense advantage of the existing state of things. 
Brigandage had entirely ceased. Athens had become a 
capital worthy of the nation — remarkable for the number 
and character of its public buildings and institutions, for its 
museums, colleges, and schools, founded for the most part 
by wealthy Greeks in all parts of the world. 

There remains to consider what had been the relative 
and contemporaneous changes in the Balkan provinces still 
remaining under Turkish rule and in the (mainly Moslem) 
countries of Asia Minor, Syria, and Mesopotamia. To 
inquiries of the writer in all quarters, in 1890, there was 
but one answer, that since the treaty of Berlin the con- 
dition both of Christians and Moslems throughout the 
Turkish Empire had gone from bad to worse. In the 
Christian Balkan provinces still under Turkish rule mis- 
government was more rampant. Brigandage had increased. 
The rapacity and exactions of the Turkish officials were 
worse than ever. Discontent was seething in all directions 
—the more so when the populations compared their fate 


with that of their more fortunate neighbours across the 
frontiers who had been liberated by the armies of Russia 
and by the treaty of Berlin. ' Nor Were the reports as to 
the condition of the Moslem subjects of the Porte in any 
way better. The exactions of Turkish officials had 
increased on people of all races and religion. The con- 
current testimony from all quarters was that the condition 
of the Moslem peasants had greatly deteriorated. 

The writer, on his return from the East in 1890, in 
the following paragraph described the danger to Turkey 
resulting from this state of things : — 

The danger to Turkey in its Eastern provinces of Asia Minor and in its 
European provinces in Macedonia and Epirus is the comparison between 
the condition of those who were freed in 1878 from the Sultan's rule, and 
who have become self-governing, as in the case of the Bulgarians, or have 
gone under the rule of Austria, Russia, or Greece, with those who remain 
the subjects of Turkish rule. When, on one side of mere geographical 
lines, without any physical difference, the populations are flourishing and 
improvements of all kinds in roads, railways, harbours, schools, etc., are 
being effected ; when brigandage is at an end, and the cultivation of land 
is extending ; when justice is equally administered, and security to life and 
property is afforded by the authorities ; and when all these improvements 
date from the time when they ceased to be under Turkish rule ; and when, 
on the other side of these lines, the conditions are the same as formerly, 
or even worse, and no improvement of any kind has taken place, the 
contrast must inevitably lead to fresh aspirations of the peasantry, to 
renewed political difficulties, to threats of intervention, and to further 
schemes for disintegrating the Empire at no distant date. The real 
defects of the Turkish Government appear to be the same as ever, not so 
much in the laws themselves as the administration of them, or the want 
of administration, the excessive centralization, the want of honest and 
capable governors, the corruption which infects all official classes, the 
want of money to supply the needs of the central Government and the 
extravagance of the Sultan, the consequent excessive taxation, the com- 
plete absence of security for life and property.' 

^ Nineteenth Century Review, December 1890, This article, which 
contained other severe criticisms on the rule of Abdul Hamid, was 
translated into the Turkish language, for his perusal, by the late Professor 
Arminius Vamberi, who was the guest of the Sultan at the time of my 
visit to Constantinople in 1890, and who had suggested to him that he 
should favour me with an audience. The Professor backed up my state- 
ments by remonstrances on his own behalf, with the result that the 
Sultan took grave offence. He withdrew the pension which he had 
annually paid to the Professor and put an ea4 to their long friendship. 


For seventeen more years these evils continued unabated 
in the Ottoman Empire under Abdul Hamid, while the 
condition of the liberated provinces was continually im- 
proving and the contrast was becoming every year more 
striking. Discontent and disaffection to the Turkish 
Government, and contempt and hatred of the Sultan, the 
head of it, increased not only among his Christian subjects, 
but equally among the Moslems throughout the length and 
breadth of the Empire. 

The provinces of the Empire which had attained virtual 
independence under Moslem rulers, such as Egypt and 
Tunis, were little more fortunate in their experience. They 
were infected with the same radical defects and misgovern - 
ment as the suzerain Power. In Egypt the enlightened 
despotism of Mehemet Ali had deg'enerated into the corrupt 
administration of his grandson, Ismail Pasha. Egypt fell 
into the hands of French and English moneylenders, and 
millions of borrowed money were squandered by the Pasha 
with little or no benefit to his country. Bankruptcy ensued 
to the State, and the bondholders persuaded the French and 
English Governments to interfere on their behalf and to 
insist on a financial control throug'h their Consuls. Later, 
in 1883, a popular movement arose in Egypt against this 
foreign control, and the army, under Arabi Bey, revolted. 
France refused to join with England in putting down the 
revolt and in maintaining the dual control. England alone 
undertook the task. It sent an army to Egypt, defeated 
Arabi and his native army, and restored the nominal rule of 
the Khedive. The dual financial control of Great Britain 
and France was maintained. But a virtual protectorate by 
the former was established, with the result that it becamje 
eventually the master of Egypt. 

In no case was the action of Abdul Hamid more fatuous 
and more opposed to the real interests of his Empire than 
in dealing with this Egyptian question. It was the policy 
of Great Britain, at the time we are referring' to, pursued 
by both political parties in the State, to maintain as far 
as possible the authority of the Sultan in Egypt and the 
integrity of the Turkish Empire. When, in 1883, Mr. 
Gladstone's Government proposed to send an army for 
the temporary occupation of Egypt in order to put down 
the rebellion of the Egyptian army, it was most anxious 
tp do so with the consent and support of the PortQ. It 


invited Abdul Hamid to send troops there to act in concert 
with the British army and in support of his own sovereign 
rights. The Sultan refused to do so. He could not be 
brought to believe that, in the event of his refusal, the 
British Government would act without him. But this was 
precisely what it did. A British army was landed in 
Egypt and put down the rebellion without any support 
from the Sultan. When it was too late, Abdul Hamid 
discovered the supreme error of his policy. 

Later again, between 1885 and 1887, when Lord Salisbury 
was Prime Minister, he was most anxious to come to an 
arrangement with the Porte for the ultimate withdrawal of 
the British army in occupation of Egypt . He sent a special 
envoy (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) to Constantinople, with 
the offer of a treaty to the Sultan, under which the British 
army was to be wholly withdrawn from Egypt within seven 
years, but with the condition that if, later, armed inter- 
vention should again become necessary, British troops should 
be employed for the purpose in preference to those of any 
other Power. This most friendly and advantageous pro- 
posal was agreed to by all the ministers of the Porte and 
was favoured at first by the Sultan, but, after long negotia- 
tion, he refused to sign the treaty. Later, when he per- 
ceived the mistake which he had made, he offered to 
reopen the negotiations, but met with a rebuff from Lord 
Salisbury. The two incidents are important as showing that 
Egypt became a dependency of Great Britain mainly through 
the perversity, folly, and stupidity of Abdul Hamid. 

In Tunis analogous agencies had been at work in favour 
of France. The occupation of this province had been the 
subject of conversations between the Powers at the Congress 
of Berlin. Prince Bismarck himself suggested it to the 
representative of France, hoping perhaps that it would be 
the cause of ill-feeling between that country and Italy, 
and would widen the breach between them to the advantage 
of Germany. The British delegates expressed themselves 
as not unfavourable to this project. It followed that, 
between 1881 and 1883, the Government of France forcibly 
assumed a protectorate over Tunis and a control of its 
finance and administration, with the acquiescence, if not 
the full approval, of the British Government. In the case of 
Tunis, however, its connection with the Turkish Empire 
had been virtually severed three centuries earlier. 


Both in Egypt and Tunis, European control effected great 
improvements in the condition of the native populations, 
especially the peasantry, and afforded illustration to the 
people of Turkey of the grave defects of their own Govern- 
ment and its corrupt administration. A party was gradually 
formed in the first decade of the present century among 
Moslems in Turkey in favour fof constitutional reform. It was 
knov/n as the Party of Union and Progress. Its members 
were called the Young Turks. It had its origin with Turks 
exiled abroad and chiefly living in Paris, and thence it 
began to permeate Turkey and find influential support in 
Constantinople. It obtained adherents in great numbers in 
the Turkish army. It established a Committee at Salonika, 
where it was in close touch with the officers of the Turkish 
army, which had its headquarters there. By the year 1908 
this movement had enormously increased. Among its ablest 
members were many Jews and cryptic Jews of Salonika. 

There was universal discontent. The system of espionage 
which the Sultan had set up, and which was his main 
engine of government, was odious to people of every rank, 
high and low. The army shared in the discontent. It 
was not till they were certain of the support of the army 
that the Committee of Union and Progress attempted any 
overt act. But when assured of this they boldly proceeded 
with their plans. On July 23, 1908, at Salonika, Enver 
Bey, on behalf of the Committee, proclaimed a revolution, 
and on the same day the 2nd and 3rd Army Corps, stationed 
there, declared their intention of marching' to Constantinople 
and compelling the Sultan to reform the Constitution. It 
was decided by the Committee that Abdul Hamid should 
not be deposed, but that he should be allowted to remain 
on the throne, provided he accepted the Constitution in g'ood 
faith. The Committee had further made certain of the 
support of the Albanian soldiers who formed the body- 
guard of the Sultan, and who had been looked upon by him 
as his most reliable supporters. Abdul Hamid, when he 
found that the army was against him and that he had no 
friends on whom he could rely, even among his bodyguard, 
announced his willingness to concede the demands of the 
revolutionary party. Never was a revolution effected with 
so little bloodshed and with more complete success. The 
Sultan dismissed his corrupt and hated ministers and 
appointed others, dictated to bini by the Conitnjtteo. He 


agreed to summon again the Parliament which he had 
dismissed in 1877. He issued a firman abolishing ,the 
system of espionage. He publicly swore fidelity to the 
new Constitution. For a time the people of Constanti- 
nople were willing to believe in his sincerity. The Sheik ul 
Islam pronounced that there was nothing in the demands 
of the people which was opposed to the laws of Islam. 
A general election took place of members for a National 
Assembly under a process of double election. Men of all 
races and religions were equally admitted to the franchise. 

There were everywhere great rejoicings over the new 
Constitution, though very few people beyond Constanti- 
nople and Salonika had any conception of what it meant. 
There was for a time great enthusiasm for England, and 
the new ambassador, Sir Gerard Lowther, on arriving at 
Constantinople to take up the post received a great ovation. 
On December i oth the new Parliament met, and was opened 
by the Sultan with a speech, in which he promised to safe- 
guard the Constitution and to protect the sacred rights of 
the nation. The various Christian and other subject races 
were well represented in the Chamber of Deputies. Its 
members showed an unexpected ability in the conduct of 
its proceedings and' in their speeches. 

It was not long, however, before difficulties began to 
arise, and reaction reared its head again at the secret 
instigation of the Sultan. There was an outbreak in 
Albania against the Committee of Union and Progress. 
The bodyguard of Albanians was won back to the support 
of Abdul Hamid by profuse bribery. Disorder broke out 
in many parts of the Empire. It was at Constantinople, 
however, that the gravest dangers to the new order of 
things arose. The first act of the new Government was to 
dismiss the host of spies, who had been maintained at a 
cost of £i,'20o,ooo a year. It was said at the time that 
if three persons were seen talking together in the streets 
one of them was certain to be a spy in the employment of 
the Sultan. These people found their occupation gone. 
The new ministers also cleared the public departments of a 
vast body of superfluous and useless employes, most of them 
hangers-on of the palace. These two classes of people 
made a formidable body of malcontents, who conceived 
that their fortunes depended on the restoration to the Sultan 
pf his old powers of corruption. They were supported by 

Abdul UaUx^ 349 

a small body of fanatical moUahs, who beUeved, or pre- 
tended to believe, that the new Constitution was in opposi- 
tion to the sacred law. But more important than these 
agencies of reaction were the personal efforts made by 
Abdul Hamid to tamper with the fidelity to the new Govern- 
ment of the troops at Constantinople by the profuse dis- 
tribution of money from his private stores. The new 
ministers had also made the mistake of releasing from 
prison, not merely great numbers of persons imprisoned 
at the will of the Sultan for political reasons, but also all 
the prisoners convicted of serious crimes. These formed 
an element of disorder in the city and caused alarm and 
distrust among the well-disposed citizens. 

On April 13, 1909, nine months after promulgation of 
the new Constitution, a revolt broke out among the troops 
at Constantinople, and a counter-revolution was proclaimed. 
It had no ostensible leader of any repute .or influence. 
Abdul Hamid avoided committing himself openly to the 
movement. But for the moment, backed by elements of dis- 
content, it was successful. The new ministers, the members 
of the Committee of Union and Progress, and the members 
of the new Assembly were compelled to seek safety by 
flight. If Abdul Hamid had boldly come forward as the 
champion of the reactionaries and fanatics, he might have 
crushed his enemies and have restored the old regime. 
But he lacked the courage for a desperate game. He 
contented himself with the secret supply of money in 
support of the movement. 

Meanwhile the Committee of Young Turks met at 
Salonika, and determined to put down the counter-revolution 
by force. They called on Mahmoud Shefket Pasha, in com- 
mand of the 3rd Army Corps, to support them. He said 
that he had sworn to maintain the Constitution, and agreed 
to march his army to Constantinople. At San Stefano he 
met the members of the Assembly and the ministers who 
had fled from the city. By the 24th of April the army 
had overcome the feeble opposition of the rebellious troops 
and were in occupation of the most important parts of 
the capital. The counter-revolution was suppressed at a 
very sm.all cost of lives. The National Assembly met again, 
and the first question for their decision was what should 
be done with Abdul Hamid. They put the following ques- 
tion to the Sheik ul Islam :— 


" What should be done with a Commander of the 
Faithful who has suppressed books and important disposi- 
tions of the Shenel law ; who forbids the reading of, and 
burns, such books ; who wastes public money for improper 
purposes ; who, without legal authority, kills, imprisons, and 
tortures his subjects and commits tyrannical acts ; who, 
after he has bound himself by oath to amend, violates 
such oath and persists in sowing discord so as to disturb 
the public peace, thus occasioning bloodshed? 

*' From various provinces the news comes that the popu- 
lation has deposed him ; and it is known that to maintain 
him is manifestly dangerous and his deposition is advan- 
tageous . 

" Under these conditions, is it permissible for the actual 
governing body to decide as seems best upon his abdication 
or deposition ? ' ' 

The answer was the simple word ' Yes.' 

Never was a sovereign condemned by a more emphatic 
and laconic word. Upon this the National Assembly 
unanimously decided on the deposition of Abdul Hamid. 
They sent a deputation to the palace to inform him to this 
effect. He appears to have taken the sentence of deporta- 
tion very quietly. "It is Kismet," he said. " But will 
my life be spared?" He who had been so merciless to 
others was chiefly concerned now in claiming mercy for 
himself. He pleaded that he had not put to death his 
two brothers, Murad and Rechad. The question was 
reserved for the National Assembly. 

Abdul Hamid found himself deserted and friendless. He 
was execrated by his subjects and despised and distrusted 
by all his fellow sovereigns in Europe, unless it were the 
German Emperor, who, of late years, had given a support 
to him in all his misdeeds at home and abroad. In his 
hour of peril the Emperor gave him no support, but the 
reverse. When he found how the wind was blowing, 
William II commenced an intrigue with the Committee 
of Union and Progress through Enver Bey, who had 
received a military training in Germany and was personally 
known to him. It is said that the Emperor insisted as 
a condition of recognition of the new order that the life 
of Abdul Hamid should be spared. There was another 
reason for doing so — namely the hope of the Young Turks 
to squeeze his hidden wealth from the deposed Sultan. 


However that may be, Abdul Hamid's life was spared. He 
was deported with a few of the more favoured members 
of his harem to Salonika, where he was detained as a 
virtual prisoner, but not otherwise maltreated. After his 
departure money and diamonds to the value of over a 
million pounds sterling were found in his palace, a small 
part only of his ill-gotten wealth. Two millions sterling 
were deposited with German banks and very large sums 
were in the hands of the Emperor William. Thus ended 
a reign of thirty -three years, more disastrous in its imme- 
diate losses of territory and in the certainty of others to 
follow, and more conspicuous for the deterioration of the 
condition of his subjects, than that of any other of his 
twenty -three degenerate predecessors since the death of 
Solyman the Magnificent. 




Mehmet R]£chad was proclaimed Sultan in place of his 
brother, under the title of Mahomet V, at the age of 
sixty -four. He had spent the whole period of his man- 
hood as a virtual prisoner, the last thirty -four jyears lof 
it under the close surveillance of his brother. He was 
never allowed to have friends or even to read newspapers. 
His servants were in the pay of Abdul Hamid and acted 
as spies on him. He devoted his life to his hatem. It 
was not surprising that he lost what little intellect he was 
originally endowed with. A diplomatist who had many 
opportunities of seeing him since his elevation to the throne 
thus describes him : — 

The very appearance of Mahomet V suggests nonentity. Small and 
bent, with sunken eyes and deeply lined face, an obesity savouring of 
disease, and a yellow, oily complexion, it certainly is not prepossessing. 
There is little or no intelligence in his countenance, and he never lost a 
haunted, frightened look, as if dreading to find an assassin lurking in some 
dark corner ready to strike and kill him. . . . Abdul Hamid bated and 
despised him, but was afraid to have him killed — perhaps through fear 
that a stronger man might take his place.' 

The new Sultan had not been a party to the conspiracy 
which dethroned his brother. No one in his senses would 
have entrusted him with so important a secret. It was 
said of him that he simulated the mannerisms of an idiot 
in order to allay suspicion in the mind of Abdul Hamid 
that he took any interest in politics. He lived in constant 
fear of being put to death. A portrait of this degenerate 
would explain better than words, if it were not too cruel, 

* The Near East from Within, p. 38. 


the depth to which the once proud race of Othman has 
fallen. It was probable, however, that the cunning men who 
engineered the revolution thought it would better serve 
their purpose to have a cipher as the figure-head of the 
Empire than a man with a 'will of his own. 

After the defeat of the reactionaries and the deposition 
of Abdul Hamid, in 1909, the Young Turks had another 
spell of power, during which they had the opportunity of 
effecting reforms in the administration of the Empire. They 
made a bad use of it. It soon became evident that there 
were two sections in the Committee in violent antagonism 
to one another. That which succeeded in getting the 
upper hand was chauvinistic, vehemently national in its 
objects and methods, aiming at the enforcement of unity 
throughout the Empire by Turkifying everything, with- 
out regard to local customs or to difference of race. They 
endeavoured to impose the Turkish language on the many 
subject races who spoke only their own language. They 
forbade the teaching in schools of the Albanian language 
in Albania, and of Arabic, the sacred language of Islam, 
in Arabia. They introduced compulsory service for the 
army, and forced the Christians of the Balkan provinces 
to serve in its ranks, with the result that thousands of 
young Bulgarians, Greeks, and Serbians, inhabitants of 
Macedonia, fled the country and sought refuge in the neigh- 
bouring States. The Young Turks availed themselves of 
the opportunity which this afforded them of strengthening 
the Moslem population of Macedonia by inviting thousands 
of the lowest class of Moslem Bosnians to migrate there. 
These men were the cause of grave disturbance and dis- 
order. No provision was made for tl^v'C employment. 
Committees of Young Turks were formed tii'^r^i, who incited 
the Turkish local authorities to deeds of arbii/ary tyranny 
rivalling, if not excelling, the infamies of Abcul Hamid's 
rule. The autocracy of that tyrant was broken at Con- 
stantinople and his system of espionage, which hn^.d caused 
such indignation, was suppressed, but hundveds of local 
Abdul Hamids came into existence in the provinces 

The central Government at the capital followed the method 
of the late Sultan in minute interference with every detail 
of administration. There can be no doubt that the con- 
dition of the Christian provinces of the Empire became 
worse than ever. Meanwhile the enthusijasm for England 



and for the principles oT the British Constitution cooled 
down at Constantinople. Whatever may have been the 
cause, the fact was certain that British influence at the 
Porte fell to a vanishing point, w^hile that of Germany 
rapidly rose. The military alliance which has been so 
valuable to Germany in the existing great war was then 
formed. The period was also marked by repeated changes 
of the Grand Vizier, according as one or other section 
of the Young Turks got the upper hand. 

It was not long before the process of dismemberment 
of the Empire was renewed and the wolves were gathered 
round it to share in the spoil. The Young Turks were 
less successful in resisting them than Abdul Hamid, who, 
at least, had kept them at bay by his cunning and shifty 
diplomacy during the many years which had elapsed since 
the Congress of Berlin, though it may well be said of 
him that the pent-up evils of his long misgovemment were 
in great part responsible for the dismemberments which 
followed in the regime of the Young Turks. 

Very soon after the revolution of 1908, on October 7th, 
before there was experience of the new Constitution, the 
Austro -Hungarian Government took advantage of the crisis 
and proclaimed the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 
in defiance of the treaty obligations imposed by the Great 
Powers at Berlin. There was no attempt to justify this. The 
annexations made little or no difference to the people of 
the two provinces. They were already, for all practical 
purposes, under the rule of Austria -Hungary. The main 
difference was that the Bosnian soldiers discarded the fez 
which they wore as the symbol of Ottoman Suzerainty . 
The annexation-^ .o\/ever, caused great indignation among 
the Turks, who regarded it as an insult to their Empire. 
It was also the cause of ill-feeling in Russia, and did 
something to bring about the great war of 19 14. The 
Austrian Government gave up its occupation of the Sandjak 
of No vi -Bazar and agreed to take over a share of the 
Ottoman debt, to the amount of about four millions sterling. 
As these concessions v/ere accepted, the Porte must be 
held to have condoned the offence. Prince Ferdinand of 
Bulgaria very soon followed the example of the Austro - 
Hungarian Government. He proclaimed himself an inde- 
pendent sovereign. This also made very little practical 
difference to his subjects. On October 12th the Cretan 


Assembly proclaimed the union of the island witH 

The next blow to the Ottoman Em^pire came from a 
very unexpected quarter, from Italy, which made a sudden 
and unprovoked attack on Tripoli. This province in Africa 
had never been autonomous. It was an integral part of 
the Ottoman Empire, governed directly from Constanti- 
nople . Its population 'was purely Moslem — Turks and Moors 
in the city of Tripoli arid other places on the coast, and 
with semi -independent Arabs in the hinterland. There was 
no demand on the part ^of these natives for a change of 
government. Italy had no valid cause of complaint on 
behalf of its few subjects who resided in the province^ 
though it trumped up something of the kind. It was a 
case of pure aggression, prompted by jealousy of France 
in respect of Tunis, to which, geographically and economic- 
ally, Italy had a stronger claim. It may be confidently 
assumed that the French Republic gave its consent to the 
seizure of Tripoli by Italy, and that Great Britain acquiesced 
in it, if it did not formally approve. 

Up to the end of 1910, the Italian Government had con- 
stantly professed the desire to maintain the integrity of the 
Turkish Empire. When rumours arose of an intention 
to grab Tripoli, its Foreign Minister, so late as Decem- 
ber 2, 1910, emphatically denied them in the Italian 
Chamber. "We desire," he said, "the integrity of the 
Ottoman Empire and we wish Tripoli always to temain 
Turkish." Nothing had since occurred to disturb the rela- 
tions between the two countries. But in September ,1911 
the ItaHan Government sprang a mincvon the Porte by 
declaring its intention to occupy Tripoli. On October 26th' 
it notified to the Powers of Europe its int^ ntion to annex 
that province. It sent an army of fifty thouisand men for 
the purpose. Its fleet bombarded the Turkish town of 
Prevesa, in the Adriatic, and drove the Turkish fleet to 
seek refuge within the Dardanelles. It took possession 
of several of the islands in the ^gean Sea. 

The Porte was caught at a disadvantage. Abdul Hamid 
had for many years completely neglected his navy. He 
owed it a grudge 'for having taken part in the deposition 
of his predecessor. He feared that its guns might be 
trained on his palace. He had allowed the Minister of 
Marine, the most corrupt and greedy of all his Pashas, 


to appropriate to his own use the money allotted by the 
budget for the repair of warships. For many years the 
battleships never left the Golden Horn. But for this the 
Ottoman navy, which in the time of Abdul Aziz had 
been the third most powerful in Europe, might have made 
the landing of an Italian army in Africa impossible. The 
garrison in Tripoli, which Abdul Hamid had always main- 
tained in strength, had been greatly reduced by the Young 
Turks. The reinforcement of it after the declaration (Of 
war, when Italy had command of the sea, was a very 
difficult task, the more so as the British Government pro- 
claimed the neutrality of Egypt, though it was still tributary 
to the Porte, and forbade the passage of Turkish troops 
into Tripoli. 

In spite of these obstacles, the Porte made a gallant 
fight for its African province, with the aid of the Arabs 
of the hinterland. Both Turkish and Italian armies com- 
mitted the most horrible atrocities in this war, and there 
was little to choose between them in this respect. The war 
lasted till October, 191 2, and was only brought to an end 
when the Porte found itself confronted by danger from a 
quarter much nearer home. 

There can be little doubt that the war with Italy, the 
consequent engagement of a large Turkish army in defence 
of Tripoli, and the blockade of Turkish ports by the Italian 
navy, making it difficult for the Porte to transfer its troops 
from Asia direct to the Balkan States, precipitated the 
intervention of Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia on behalf of 
the Christian inhabitants of the remaining provinces of 
the Porte in Euror which were now on the eve of revolt. 

The condition of these Christian provinces had in no 
way improved under the regime of the Young Turks, but 
very much the reverse. The governors and other Ottoman 
officials were as corrupt, rapaciou,s, and arbitrary as they 
had ever been. There was no security for life or property. 
The Turkish soldiers plundered the villages of Christians 
which they were sent to protect. Bands of brigands, some- 
times wearing the uniforms of Greek, sometimes of 
Bulgarian soldiers, devastated the country. No attempt 
was made by the Young Turks to put in force any part 
of the reforms which had been proposed by the Commis- 
sion appointed by the Great Powers after the Congress of 


Lord Fitzmaurice's scheme remained as much a dead letter 
as it had been for over thirty years under Abdul Hamid. 
The Young Turks had added new difficulties and more 
causes of complaint by their attempts to Turkify every- 
thing, and by their 'extension of conscription to the Christian 
population. The physical situation of Macedonia made it 
impossible that its people would willingly submit to this 
continued misgovernment and tyranny. Their immediate 
neighbours were Bulgarians, Serbians, and Greeks, of 
kindred race, all of whom, with the assistance of Russia 
and other Eiuropean Powers, had obtained freedom from 
Turkish rule. The peoples of Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia 
sympathized with their compatriots who were still under 
the detested yoke. 

If ever intervention by neighbouring States was justified 
for the purpose of restoring order and securing good 
government in accordance with treaty obligations, this was 
a case for it. The crisis was precipitated by massacres 
of Bulgarians at Kotchana, in Macedonia, and of Serbians 
on the borders of Montenegro. 

Early in 191 2 negotiations for armed intervention in 
Macedonia took place between the Governments of Greece, 
Bulgaria, and Serbia, at the instance mainly of the able 
and patriotic Premier of Greece, M. Venezelos. For the 
first and only time in their history a combination was 
effected between these three States against the Turkish 
Empire. It will be seen that, though it was most effective 
for its immediate purpose of defeating the Turks and ex- 
pelling them from nearly the whole of their European 
possessions, it broke down, with most unfortunate results, 
almost immediately after this great success. 

On March 18, 191 2, a treaty was signed between 
Bulgaria and Serbia for mutual military aid to one another 
in war with Turkey. A secret clause provided that in 
the event of any portion of Macedonia being conquered the 
parts respectively nearest to the two States sho^ild be 
annexed to them, and that the intervening territory should 
be divided between them by the arbitration of Russia. 
This clearly showed that the intervention aimed at territorial 
conquest. Two months later another treaty was signed 
between Greece and Bulgaria, binding the two States to 
aid one another if attacked by Turkey, or in the event 
of systematic violation of rights by that Power. Nothing 


was said in this as to the division ;of spoil aiter the war. 
Montenegro later came into the chain of alliances, and, in 
fact, was always eager for war with Turkey. 

When it became known to. the Great Powers that these 
alliances were formed, and that war was imminent, they 
made every effort to allay the storm and to maintain peace. 
A strong protest was addressed, on September 25th, by 
Russia and Austria on behalf of all the Powers. They, 
endeavoured to resuscitate the treaty of Berlin, which had 
so signally failed, to secure order and good government in 
the remaining Christian provinces of Turkey. They under- 
took, by virtue of the twenty-third article of that treaty, 
to insist on the realization of the promised reforms in the 
administration of these provinces, but with the reservation, 
which made the promise futile in the eyes of all concerned, 
that the reforms should not in any way diminish the 
sovereignty of the Sultan or impair the integrity, of the 
Ottoman Empire. 

The allied Balkan States, in a very dignified despatch 
of October 1 5th, declined to act on the advice of the 
Powers . 

The Governments of the Balkan States [they said] consider that after so 
many promises of reform have been so often and so solemnly given by 
Turkey, it would be cruel not to endeavour to obtain in favour of the 
Christian population of the Ottoman Empire reforms of a more radical 
and definite nature which would really ameliorate their miserable con- 
dition if applied sincerely and in their integrity. 

They enclosed ? copy of an ultimatum which, Oti the 
same day, they addressed to the Porte, insisting on the 
carrying out of a series of reforms specially detailed. 

If [they said] ihe Porte desires to accept these proposals, order and 
tranquillity will be reinstated in the provinces of the Empire, and a 
desirable peace will be assured between Turkey and the Balkan States, 
which h^.ve hitherto suffered from the arbitrary and provocative measures 
adopted by the Porte to them. 

Among the list of reforms insisted oh was the ceding 
and confirmation of the ethnical autonomy of provinces of 
the Empire, with all its consequences. The ultimatum was 
presented to the Porte, which treated it as a declaration of 
war. Its first and most important act was to oome to 


terms with Italy tn order to free its hands for the more 
important war at its very portals. A treaty of peace was 
signed on October 15th, by which the Porte agreed to 
withdraw its troops from Tripoli, and thus virtually recog- 
nized the acquisition of that province by Italy. Italy, on 
the other hand, agreed to withdl-aw from the islands of 
the JEgesLU Sea which it had occupied — ^a promise which, in 
fact, it did not perform. 

Meanwhile hostilities had already commenced in the 
Balkans. Montenegro declared war on October 8th. The 
three other States followed suit on October i8th, and eacji 
of them sent its army on the same day, or nearly so, across 
its frontiers to invade Turkey. Beyond the desire for the 
better government of the Christian provinces of Turkey, 
there were doubtless arrihes pensees on the part of all 
the allied States. Greece coveted Crete and other islands 
in the ^gean Sea, and hoped to extend its frontiers on 
the mainland. Bulgaria yearned for the big Bulgaria as 
defined by the treaty of San Stefano. Serbia had ambitions 
for a revival of its wide boundaries under Stephen Dushan, 
and aimed at access both to the ^gean Sea and the Adriatic. 
Montenegro wished for a part of Albania and for exten- 
sions in the Adriatic. Each State had large populations 
of a kindred race beyond its frontier suffering from cruel 
misgovernment and tyranny and crying' for help. But it 
seems improbable that they could have expected to reali-^ 
their full hopes, or to achieve such a denoument ^s ^'Ctually 

The allies between them had seven hun^ied thousand men 
under arms. Turkey had no more than four hundred 
thousand in Europe. It had, ho^v'ever, great reserves in 
Asia, and its aggregate force largely exceeded that of 
the aUies. It was to be expected that the Turkish armies 
in Europe would make a good fight, and would at least 
afford time for these reserves to come up. 

The Greek army, under the command of x\\?:- Crown 
Prince Constantine (the present King of Greece), who liad 
received a military education in Germany, crossed the 
northern frontier and, in four days, on October 22nd, 
encountered a Turkish army, under Hassan Pasha, at 
Sarandoporus. The Turks held a very strong position and 
were little inferior in numbers. In spite of this, they 
were worsted^ and were compelled to retreat in the follow- 


ing* night. The next day the Greeks renewed their attack. 
The unfortunate Turks, disheartened by their defeat at 
Sarandoporus and wearied by the long night march, were 
caught unawares in a ravine which offered no possibility of 
defence. Terror-stricken and demoralized, they fled before 
their foe . They left behind them the whole of their artillery 
and transport. 

The retreating Turks, despite their panic, found time to 
wreak their vengeance on the unfortunate Christian in- 
habitants on their route and mercilessly butchered them. 
What remained of their army retired on Veria, where it was 
reinforced by fourteen fresh battalions. On the 28th the 
Greek army resumed its march. In front of Veria it again 
came in contact with the Turks, who were posted in a 
very strong position. The issue was not long in doubt. 
The unhappy Turks were mown down by the Greek guns. 
Officers and men again fled like a beaten rabble. After 
these signal defeats the remainder of the Ottoman army 
crossed the River Vardar on November 3rd, within a few 
miles of Salonika. On the 8th that city capitulated to the 
Greeks, not without suspicion of treachery. Hassan Pasha 
and twenty -five thousand men, the remaias of his army, 
were made prisoners. On the next day a division of the 
Bulgarians, detached from their main army in Thrace, 
appeared on the scene at Salonika, after a forced march, 
ii^ the hope of being able to claim a share in the capture 
of that important city. At the request of its general, 
the Greeks gave permission to two regiments of Bulgarians 
to enter the city. Tn spite of this limitation, ten regiments 
were sent there, and were the cause of much subsequent 
trouble . 

While these great and unexpected successes were being 
achieved by the Greeks, the Serbians were advancing from 
the north. A Turkish army of a hundred thousand men, 
under Zeki Pasha, had marched up the valley of the 
Vardar River to meet them. The two armies, about equal 
lii numbers, met at Koumanovo on October 23rd, the day 
after the victory of the Greeks at Sarandoporus. The 
Turks were well supported with all modern implements of 
war, with machine guns, aeroplanes, and wireless telephone 
apparatus, but they hiad not a staff competent to make use of 
them. Their artillery was the best which Krupps' celebrated 
German works could turn out, and was superior in number 


to that of the Serbians. The French Crelisot guns, however, 
of the latter proved to be the better in action. But, worst of 
all, the commissariat arrangements of the Turks were of 
a most primitive character. They relied mainly on their 
men feeding themselves at the expense of the peasantry, 
on their route, with the result that they were underfed. 
The weather was most inclement and the troops were only 
provided with light summer clothing^. The best of soldiers 
cannot fight with empty stomachs and scanty clothing. As 
a result, in spite of a vigorous resistance in the great 
battle, the Turkish lines were broken by the splendid 
infantry of the Serbians. There resulted a rout and the 
precipitate retreat of the Turkish army. It lost the whole 
of its artillery — a. hundred and twenty guns. Of the 
hundred thousand men, only forty thousand survived as 
a military force. Uskub, the ancient capital of Serbia, 
was captured. Another Serbian army advanced towards 
the Adriatic and captured Durazzo. 

After the fierce and decisive battle at Koumanovo, what 
remained of the Turkish army retreated down the Vardar 
Valley to Veles, and thence, instead of marching to Salonika, 
where it might have been in time to save that city from the 
Greeks, it marched westward to Prilip, on the route to 
Monastir. The Serbians, after a brief delay, followed it 
up and came in contact again at Prilip, where the Turks 
held an immensely strong ix)sition. It was taken at the 
point of the bayonet, a striking proof of the superb quality 
of the Serbian infantry. 

The Turks retreated thence to Monastir. where they found 
reinforcements. On November 17th and i8th, another great 
battle was fought in front of Monastir, in which the Turks 
were again defeated, with the loss of ten thousand prisoners. 
The remains of the army retreated into Albania, where it 
was too late in the season for the Serbians to follow them. 
They were ultimately, in the following spring, brought ,b^ck 
to Constantinople by sea from the Adriatic. There could 
not have been a more completely victorious campaign for 
the Serbians. Zeki's army was virtually extinguished. 

While these critical events Were pending in Macedonia 
the Bulgarians were equally successful in the east. They 
invaded Thrace on October i8th in great force, and on 
the 22nd encountered a Turkish army at Kirk Kilisse and, 
after a two days' battle, defeated it. On the 28th they 


fought th« main Turkish army, under Nazim Pasha, which 
was drawn up in a line from Lulu Burgas to Visa. The 
Turks made an obstinate resistance, but after forty-eight 
hours of fierce assaults by the Bulgarians they gave way 
and retreated in terrible disorder, till they found themselves 
behind the lines of Tchatalja, the celebrated fortifications 
which protect Constantinople at a distance of nineteen miles 
on a line from the Black Sea to the Marmora. On their 
advance through Thrace the Bulgarian soldiers, assisted by 
irregulars of Bulgar race, committed atrocities and cruelties 
on the Turkish population which rivalled all that the Turks 
in the post had perpetrated. 

On November 17th the Bulgarians attacked these lines 
of Tchatalja with great vigour. But the Turks had brought 
up fresh troops from Asia. The lines were well defended 
with Krupp guns, and several successive assaults were 
repelled . 

On December 3rd, at the instance of the Great Powers, 
an armistice was agreed upon between Turkey and Bulgaria 
and Serbia. War, however, was continued with Greece 
and Montenegro. As a result of the campaign the Turks 
had been defeated in every engagement by Greeks, Serbs, 
Bulgars, and Montenegrins. They were driven from 
Macedonia and from nearly the whole of Thrace and Epirus. 
They still, however, retained Adrianople, Janina^ and 
Scutari. It was only when in defence of such cities, Or 
behind such lines as those of Tchatalja that the Turkish 
soldiers showed the tenacity and courage for which they 
had been famous - Whienever they met the enemy ift the 
open field they w^ere always defeated. 

It is almost incomprehensible [wrote Mr. Crawford Price, who was 
a witness of this debacle of the Turkish army] that this warlike nation, 
the stories of whose valour fill the most thrilling pages of the miHtary 
history of <^he world, could have degenerated into a beaten rabble flying 
b:;rore the onslaught of despised Serbians and Greeks, people who, till 
yesterday, scarce dared to lift their voices when questions affecting their 
interests were discussed and settled. The Greeks most effectually wiped 
out the stain of 1897. They showed themselves the superior of the Turk 
in organization, strategy, and even in personal courage. ... I do not 
wish to dwell too strongly on the lack of courage exhibited by the 
Ottoman soldiers. Words fail me to describe the utter demoralization 
I found in the ranks of the Turkish troops after their defeat.* 

The Balkan Cockpit, G. M. Crawford Price, p. 102. 


Among the chief causes of this demoralization of the 
Ottoman armies was the complete absence of preparation 
for feeding them. It was the rule, rather than the excep- 
tion, for the troops to be left three or four days without 
food. Another cause was that the Ottoman armies in this 
campaign in Europe had in their ranks a large proportion 
of Christian natives of the district who had been conscripted 
for the first time. Their sympathies were all in favour 
of the enemy, and they undoubtedly assisted in promoting 
the stampedes when the Turkish lines were broken. The 
survivors fled to their homes. 

The winter of 191 2-1 3, after the conclusion of the 
armistice, was spent in futile negotiations for peace at a 
Conference in London. The main cause of failure was 
Adrianople. The Bulgarians insisted on its cession to them 
as a condition of permanent peace. The Porte, in the 
first instance, was not unwilling to give way on this. But 
a military emeate occurred at Constantinople. A deputa- 
tion from the army, headed by Enver Bey, insisted on 
entering the chamber where the Council of Ministers were 
deliberating on the question, with the object of protesting 
against the surrender of the stronghold. Nazim Pasha, the 
Minister of War, and his aide-de-camp were killed in the 
endeavour to resist this inroad. The Grand Vizier was 
thereupon terrorized into resignation . In his place Mahmoud 
Shefket, who had proved to be so loyal to the Young 
Turks at the early stage of their movement, was appointed. 
He refused to surrender Adrianople. The negotiations in 
London were broken off. 

Early in 191 3, on January 4th, the Bulgarians gave 
notice of the termination of the armistice. War was 
renewed. On February 4th the Bulgarian army commenced 
an attack on Adrianople, supported on this occasion by 
fifty thousand Serbians. On the same day they fought a 
battle near Bulair, defeated the Turks, and captured that 
important fortress, threatening the command of the Darda- 
nelles. The Greeks also renewed the war. They sent an 
army into Epirus and, on March 6th, captured Janina, 
making prisoners thirty -three thousand Turks and seizing 
immense stores of guns and ammunition. On the loth of 
the same month their fleet captured the island of Samos. 

On March 28th the Bulgarians captured Adrianople and 
its garrison of twenty thousand Ottomans, and on April 2ist 


the Montenegrins succeeded in getting possession of Scutari, 
which they claimed as the capital of their State. After 
these serious reverses the Porte was desirous of coming 
to terms, and was willing even to cede Adrianople land 
almost the whole of Thrace. It invited the mediation of 
the Great Powers. The allied States agreed to this. A 
second Conference was held in London on the basis that 
the Porte was to give up all its possessions in Europe, save 
the small part of Thrace south of a line drawn from Enos, 
in the ^gean Sea, to Media, in the Bl^ck Sea, a few miles 
north of the Tchatalja lines. Crete wjas to be ceded to 
Greece, and the destination of the islands in the ^Egean Sea 
lately in the possession of Turkey, and some of which were 
necessary for its defence, was to be left to the decision of the 
Pov/ers. A treaty was effected between the Porte and the 
Powers to this effect. But there was far greater difficulty 
in determining how the ceded districts were to be divided 
between the victorious Balkan States. The position was 
aggravated by Roumania coming into the field and claim- 
ing compensation in territory, in consideration of the 
important changes impending in the balance of power in 
the Balkans. 

The four States so lately in alliance against the 
common enemy, Turkey, were now madly jealous of one 
another in the division of the spoils. Serbia, which ha-d 
contributed so largely to the result by the splendid valour 
of its army against the main body of Turks imder Zeki 
Pasha, was not content with the small slice of Macedonia 
which it had agreed to in the treaty with Bulgaria in 
191 2, before the war. The decision of the Powers that 
Albania was to be an independent State deprived Serbia of 
the much -hop<^;d -for access to the Adriatic. The acquisition 
by Bulgaria of Thrace, including Adrianople, would greatly 
alter the oalance of power in the Balkans to the disadvantage 
01 Serbia and justified its claim to a larger share pf 
Macedonia. It was already in occupation of nearly Jialf 
of that province. Bulgaria was equally ambitious to revive 
the big Bulgaria of the San Stefano treaty, and could also 
appeal to long past history in favour of it. It was deter- 
mined to get possession of Salonika, and was madly jealous 
of Greece. The Greeks, on their part, were in possession 
of that city and of the southern half of Macedonia. They 
had got hold of these districts by force of arms and 


were determined not to give them up. No agreement could 
be come to in London. Russia in vain did its utmost to 
compose these dififerences. It offered to act as arbitrator 
and invited the Balkan States to send representatives to 
Petrograd to settle the questions. 

We now know that the Bulgarian Government had no 
intention whatever to make concessions to the other Balkan 
States. The pacific section of its ministers were over- 
borne by the more bellicose members. M. Gueshofif, the 
able Premier, who had been responsible for the policy 
which preceded the war, and who was now in favour of a 
peaceful settlement, was compelled to resign. King 
Ferdinand, a most unscrupulous and ambitious intriguer, 
backed up the war party, and was mainly responsible for 
the treacherous policy pursued, which was fraught with so 
much misfortune to his State. In spite of the warnings 
from Russia that, if force were resorted to, Bulgaria would 
find itself confronted by a Roumanian army, and that the 
Porte would also join in the war against it, King 
Ferdinand and his Government decided on v/ar with their 
late allies. They had unbounded and arrogant confidence 
in their army, and despised those of Greece and Serbia. 

On June 29, 19 13, at midnight, the Bulgarian army in 
Macedonia made a sudden and unprovoked attack on the 
Greek and Serbian outposts, without any warning or declara- 
tion of war. This treacherous action was followed up 
the next day by an advance of the Bulgarian army of 
a hundred thousand men on the right flank against the 
Serbian army, which was nearest to them. For the moment 
this seemed to promise success, and the Serbians were 
compelled to fall back. But on July ist the Serbians, 
whose forces, supported by the Montenegrins, were almost 
equal in number to the Bulgarians opposed to ^bem, rallied 
and decided on a counter offensive. On July 2nd they 
attacked the Bulgarians on the Bragalbabza River, defeated 
them, and captured many of their guns. On July 4th 
another battle took place with much the same result. Istib 
was captured on the 8th, and the Bulgarians were then com- 
pelled to retreat towards their own frontier. 

Meanwhile the main army of the Greeks, which was 
concentrated at Salonika, a day's march from the Bulgarians 
on the left flank, advanced to attack them. The two 
armies were equal in numbers, each of about seventy 


thousand men. They met at Kiltich, ahout half-way 
between the Rivers Vardar and Struma, and a day's march 
from Salonika. The Greeks inflicted a very severe defeat 
on their foes. This was followed up a few days later by 
victories at Doiran and Strumnitza. In the fortnight which 
followed the Bulgarians were defeated in a series of engage- 
ments as they retreated to their own frontier. 

The prediction and warnings of the Russian Government 
were now verified. The Roumanians, when they found that 
the Bulgarians were involved in war with the other Balkan 
States, announced that they were dissatisfied with the small 
concession of territory made to them' at the Conference in 
London — namely the fortress of Silistria and a belt of land 
on the Danube. They insisted on a further cession of 
territory to them in the Dobrudscha. They sent an army 
across the Danube, on July loth, to support this demand. 
It advanced without opposition to within a few miles of 
Sofia. The Turks also saw the opportunity of retrieving 
out of the scramble something of their recent great losses 
of territory. They determined to tear up the treaty of 
London, signed only a few weeks ago. They sent an afmy, 
under Enver Pasha, into Thrace, on Jiiiy 1 5th, to attack 
Adrianople. It had no difficulty in recaptturing that most 
important city, from which the Bulgarians had withdrawn 
nearly the whole of its garrison in order to strengthen their 
armies against Greece and Serbia. It also reoccupied 
Demotika and Kirk Kilisse. 

The Bulgarians found themselves in a most perilous 
position. Their armies had everywhere been defeated and 
driven back. They were surrounded biy invading armies. 
They were compelled to sue for terms. On July 31st an 
armistice was agreed to, and a Conference was decided 
on, to be held at Bucharest, between the representatives 
of tho Balkan States, without the presence of those of the 
Great Powers. At the Conference the Bulgal-ians found 
themselves in the position of being hoist with their own 
petard. They were compelled by force majeure not only 
to give up all their ambitious projects, but also to make 
serious concessions to all their rivals. Had they been willing 
to come to terms at the Conference at London or, later, 
to submit to the arbitration of Russia, they would un- 
doubtedly h^ve secured for themselves a large slice of 
Macedonia. They would have retained possession of a' 


great part of Thrace, with Adrianople and Demotika, and 
the only concessions they would have made were Silistria 
and the small belt of land on the Danub'e. They wer'e 
now compelled to agree to the division of the whole (of 
Macedonia between Greece and Serbia. They had to sur- 
render a part of the Dobrudscha to Roumania, and the 
larger part of their conquests in Thrace, including* 
Adrianople, to the Turks. All that remained to them in 
retiorn for their stupendous efforts in the recent wars wa,s 
a small portion of Thrace with a narrow frontage to the 
^gean Sea, but without a port of any value or importance. 
Never was there a case in which base treachery and over- 
weening arrogance were followed by more fatal retribution. 

Greece got the larger share of the spoil of Turkey in 
the two years of war. It obtained rather more than half 
of Macedonia — namely 17,000 square miles, with a popu- 
lation of 1,697,000. It also secured the final cession 
to it of the important island of Crete, and of Samos, and 
other islands in the ^gean Sea. Its territory and popula- 
tion were increased by more than one -half. Serbia obtained 
15,000 square miles, with 1,656,000 inhabitants, Bulgaria 
only 9,600 miles and 125,000 Inhabitants. Roumania 
secured 2,600 square miles, with 286,000 inhabitants, and 
Montenegro 2,100 square miles and 251,000 population; 
while the Turks lost 54,000 square miles, inhabited by a 
population of 4,239,000. But the recovery of Adrianople, 
Demotika, and Kirk Kilisse was a great coup for them. 
It redounded to the prestige of the Young Turks and their 
leader, Enver Pasha, who soon becamt. Minister of War. 

The German Emperor telegraphed his congratulations 
to the Sultan on the recovery of Adrianople, and to the 
King of Roumania on the success of his intervention. He 
also conferred on the King of Greece, his brother-in-law, 
the baton of a Field Marshal in the German army. The 
King received this honour in person at Berlin in the presence 
of a great gathering of German generals. In a speech 
on the occasion, he attributed his success in the recent 
war, in the first place, to the bravery of his army, and in 
the second to the training which he and many of his 
officers had received in the military schools of Berlin. 
Thenceforth, till the outbreak of the great war in Europe 
in 19 14, the influence of Germany in the Near East, "and 
especially in Turkey, was continually on the increase. Enver 


Pasha, who now predominated in the councils of the Porte, 
was devoted to the interests of Germany, and was prob- 
ably in its pay. At his instance the Turkish army, which 
had so conspicuously failed in the recent wars, was put 
under the control of the German General Von der Goltz, 
and large numbers of ofhcers were lent by Germ^any for 
its better training. Secret drillings of troops took place 
in many remote parts of the Empire. These measures 
were well timed to coincide with the outbreak in 1 9 1 4 of the 
great war, which, it is now very certain, had been already 
determined on by the General War Staff at Berlin. 

It only remains to add that when, soon after the com- 
mencement of the war, the Porte, at the instance of Enver 
Pasha, declared itself against the Allied Powers, the British 
Government at once proclaimed the independence of Egypt, 
under its protectorate, and the annexation of Cyprus. These 
were the last territorial losses of the Ottoman Empire which 
can be counted as faits accomplls. It has been shown 
that, in the past, there were due to the regime of the 
Yoimg Turks, during^ the six years of its predominance, 
from 1908 to 19 14, the loss in Europe of Macedonia, 
Epirus, and Albania, and of a large part of Thrace ; of 
Crete, Cyprus, and many other islands in the yEgean >Sea ; 
and the suzerainty of Bulgaria, Bosnia, and Herzegovina ; 
and in Africa of the province of Tripoli and the suzerainty 
of Egypt. These great losses rivalled in extent of ter- 
ritory and population those incurred either by Mahmoud II 
or by Abdul Hamid II. It needs no prophet to predict a 
further shrinkage of territory, or loss of independence, after 
the conclusion of the existing war in Europe, whatever may 
be its other results. 

London : T. Fislier Unwin,Ltd. 

Stanford^ GeogfEstabt,Zonciort. 



It has been shovm in preceding chapters that the two 
great historic movements of the growth and decay of the 
Turkish Empire extended over periods not differing much 
in length. Reckoning its birth from the accession, in 
1288, of Othman, as chief of a small tribe of Turks in 
Asia Minor, nearly three hundred years elapsed before the 
Empire reached its zenith. During these years ten eminent 
Sultans and one Grand Vizier (Sokolli) of a degenerate 
Sultan were concerned in its extension. It was a period 
of almost continuous victory and conquest. The Ottoman 
armies, during these years, met with only a single serious 
disaster, that at Angora in 1402 at the hands of Timur 
and a host of Mongolian invaders, which seemed at first 
to have struck a fatal blow to the Empire. But it soon 
rallied, and the process of aggrandizement was renewed. 
With this exception the Ottomans were almost uniformly 
successful. The number, however, of pitched battles in 
the field, which decided the fate of States successively 
invaded, was not great. Thrace was won by the defeat 
of the Byzantines by Murad I at Eski Baba in 1361. 
The Bulgarians \^re conquered at Samakof in 1371, and 
the Serbians at Kossova in 1389, by the same Sultan. The 
Hungarians were overthrown at Mohacz in 1529. The 
Persians were defeated at Calderan, 1 5 1 4, near Tabriz, 
and the Egyptians at Aleppo, 15 16, and Ridania, ^lear 
Cairo, under Selim, 15 16. The critsaders from Europe 
were defeated in three great battles-nat the Maritza, 1363, 
Nicopolis, 1396, and Varna, 1444. At most of these 
battles the Ottomans had great superiority of numbers, and 
as against the Persians and Egyptians they were provided 
with a powerful artillery, of which their opponents were 


wiholly, deficient. The other very; numerous campaigns con- 
sisted mainly, of successions of sieges by invading armies 
of Ottomans, where the invaded, with inferior forces, 
protracted the defence, often over long terms of years. 

The Ottomans .wiere almost equally successful at sea, 
with pne notable excepition, at Lepanto^ at thq very end of 
the period We are referring to, when they met with ^ 
terrible disaster from the combined navies of Europe, 
much inferior in numbers of ships and men. But before 
this their naval supremacy had enabled them to extend 
the Empire over Algiers and Tunis. Nothing resulted 
from the great battle of Lepanto ex;cep,t loss of prestige 
to the Ottomans. The combination against them was dis- 
solved, and for many years they maintained supremacy 
in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

At the close of this period of growth the Ottoman 
Empire reached its zenith and extendbd over the vast 
countries described in the chapter on the Grand Vizier 
SokolH. The whole of its imniiense area, however, was not 
in full ownership of the Ottomans. Parts of it, such as 
North Hungary, were autonomous States with native rulers 
paying tribute to the Porte . Other parts, such as the Crimea, 
Wallachia, and Moldavia, were vassal States, whose princes 
were appointed by the Sultan, and which were blound to 
send contingents in support of the Ottoman armies when 
at war. The really integral parts of the Empire in Europe 
were Thrace, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Bosnia, 
and Albania ; in Asia, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and 
a great part of Arabia ; and in Africa, Tripoli. Egypt, 
Tunis, and Algiers very early acqU|ired a; practical autonomy 
under the suzerainty of the Porte, though they were still 
nominally integral parts of the Empire. The Empire thus 
constituted was one of the greatest in the then world. 
It may be wiorth while briefly to review the cause's which 
led to its aggiregation. 

It was the common belief in Europe, confirmed by many 
historians, upi toi recent times, that the Ottoman armies 
which invaded Europe from Asia Minor were composed of 
pure Turks, and that the motive which impelled them in 
their conquest was the fanatical desire to extend Islam. 
But these views have been modified of late years. It has 
been shown that the armies which Sultans Orchan and 
Murad led across the Straits into _I^u,rope were not pure 


Turks, but were very largely composed of subjects of the 
East Roman Empire from the northern parts of Asia Minor, 
who, after the defeat there of the Byzantine armies, had 
embraced Islam. They were welded with the Turks by 
religion into something ajpproaching to a nation. They called 
themselves Osmanlis, or Ottomans, from the founder of the 
Pthman dynasty. It may be doubted whether the Turks 
alone were capable of effecting the conquests in Europe. 
It is certain that they could not have maintained' the Emf)ire 
when formed. 

The Turks of Anatolia had many valuable qualities as 
soldiers. They were, and are to this day, brave, hardy, 
sober, frugal, and cleanly in their habits, as inculcated by 
their religion, a strong point in their favour in days when 
sanitary arrangements were completely ignored by armies. 
They bore the hardships of long campaigns without 
complaint. But they were deficient in intelligence and 
education, which count for much in war as in civil life. 
In this respect they were very inferior to subjects of the 
East Roman Empire and to many of the Christians with 
whom they came in conflict. But the Ottomans who first 
invaded Europe were not simply Turks. Later, the most 
effective corps in the Ottoman army was formed exclu- 
sively of the sons of Christian parents in the Balkans, 
conscripted at an early age and forcibly converted to Islam. 
It was with forces thus constituted that the Ottomans ex- 
tended their Empire up to and beyond the Danube. The 
conquests of the larger part of Asia Minor, of Mesopo- 
tamia, Syria, and Egypt, were also effected by composite 
forces, to which Serbia and Walla chia sent contingents 
by virtue of treaties with the Porte. The greater number 
of Ottoman generals who distinguished themselves in these 
early days of conquest were not of Turkish race, but were 
Greeks, Albanians, Slavs, and Italians, who had embraced 
Islam or whose forbears had done so. It was the same with 
almost all the naival commanders. They were of foreign 
origin, who had gained experience as pirates and had 
embraced Islam. The crews who manned the Ottoman 
navy were mainly Greeks from the islands in the 
i^gean Sea. 

With respect to the objects and motives of the Ottoman 
conquests, a careful review of the history of the early 
Sultans has shown that there was very little, if any, of 


missionary enterprise on behalf of Islam'. It will b'^ 
admitted that there is no pretence for concluding that the 
vast conquests in Asia and Africa had any such motive. 
The populations there were already Moslems. The motives 
for conquest were the ambition to extend the Empire at 
the expense of neighbouring States and the hope of plunder 
on the part of the soldiers. Religious zeal had nothing to 
do with it. What reason is there to suppose that conquests 
in Europe had any different object than those in Asia? 
As a matter of fact, there was no very large extension of 
Islam in Europe as a result of Ottoman conquest. When 
cities were captured and their inhabitants were massacred, 
or when districts were conquered and the people were 
carried away as captives to be sold as slaves, they do not 
appear to have had the alternative offered to them of 
embracing Islam. 

In some few districts, as in Bosnia and parts of Albania 
and the Morea, the landowners, or some of them, were 
allowed to avoid the confiscation of their property by 
becoming Mussulmans. But these were exceptions. The 
general rule was that the land of the conquered districts 
was confiscated without the option to the owners of changing 
their religion and saving their property. As regards the 
labouring people, the rayas, there does not appear to 
have been any desire that they should adopt the religion 
of their conquerors. They were wanted for the cultiva- 
tion of the land as serfs or slaves. It seems to have been 
a matter of indifference what their religion was. 

There is also nothing to show that the Ottoman soldiers 
were animated by any religious zeal in their campaigns in 
Europe. The main cause of their military efficiency was the 
organization of the army effected by Orchan and perfected 
by Murad I. It offered immensie rewards to the soldiers 
for victories in battle and for personal valour, in the share 
of booty and plunder levied in the conquered .districts, 
of captives to be sold as slaves, of women for wives or 
concubines or to be sold for harems, and of lands to be 
distributed as fiefs. These rewards appealed to the pre- 
datory instincts of the Moslem' soldiers, whether Turks 
or others of alien orig'in. In the rare intervals of 
peace the soldiers soon wearied of life in barracks, and 
yearned for active campaigns. At such times the Janissaries 
and other soldiers were a dan??er to the State from their 


turbulence and disorder. It was necessary to find employ- 
ment for them at a distance. This acted as a constant 
incitement to war and to fresh conquests. It was one of 
the causes of the continuous growth of the Empire. 

A second main cause of success to the Ottoman armies 
in Europe was the want of union for resistance on the part 
of the people of the Balkan States. There can be little 
doubt that if the Greeks, Bulgarians, and Serbians !had 
combined to resist the invading Moslems their efforts 
would have been successful. But Greeks and Bulgarians, 
Greeks and Serbians hated one another more than they 
feared and hated the Ottomans. In the six centuries dealt 
with in this volume there was only a single occasion when 
Greeks, Bulgarians, and Serbians formed a combination 
against the Ottomans. This was not till 191 2. The com- 
bination was successful and drove the Turks out of 
Macedonia, Epirus, Albania, and the greater part of Thrace . 
But we have shown that it broke down on the division 
of the spoil, with the result that the Turks recovered a small 
part of their lost territory. The case illustrates our con- 
tention that want of union of the Christian States was 
a main cause of the servitude of ajl of them for nearly 
five hundred years under Turkish rule. 

Lastly, in appreciating the causes of the wonderful 
growth of the Ottoman Empire, we must not lose sight 
of the personal element, of the fact that, for ten genera- 
tions, the Othman family produced men capable of leading 
their armies in the field to victory, and almost equally 
remarkable as administrators and statesmen. This succes- 
sion of a single family, father and son, for ten generations 
without a break, culminating in the greatest of them, 
Solyman the Magnificent, is quite without precedent or 
example in history. The Othman family were pure Turks 
in their origin. But the Turkish blood was very soon 
diluted. The mothers of future Sultans were either captives 
taken by corsairs or slaves bought on account of their 
beauty. They were of every race — Greeks, Slavs, Italians, 
or Russians. But in spite of this mixed blood the type of 
Sultans remained much the same for ten generations. The 
prestige acquired by the family in these three hundred 
years, as founders and maintainers of the Empire and as 
generals who led their armies to victory, was such that it 
has impressed itself on the imagination of all Ottomans, 


and has survived to this day, in spite of the long subse- 
quent degeneration of the family. Unquestionably, the 
foundation and growth of the Empire were largely due to 
the personal qualities of the Othman dynasty. 

After the death in 1578 of Grand Vizier Sokolli, who 
carried on the traditions of the first ten Sultans for ^ 
few years under the worthless Selim II, the pendulum of 
Empire swung in the opposite direction. Thenceforth, down 
to the present time, there were successions of defeats and 
disasters to the Turkish Empire, with but few intermis- 
sions. Provinces were torn from it periodically, like leaves 
from an artichoke, till all but a small fraction of it in 
Europe, the whole of its possessions in Africa, and a large 
part in Asia have been lost to the Empire. Wh^t remainis 
to it is the core of Turkish and Arabic provinces in Asia, 
and in Europe only its capital, Constantinople, and a small 
portion of Thrace to the north of it. 

Five of the Great Powers of Europe have had their 
share of the spoils, and six independent States have been 
resuscitated out of the remaining debris of it. It is hard 
to say which of the Great Powers gained most. Austria 
recovefed by, force of ai'ms Hungary, Transylvania, 
Dalmatia, Croatia, and' Slavonia, and by artful policy 
Bosnia and Herzeg^ovina. Russia obtained by conquest 
the Crimea, Bessarabia, Podolia, and a part of the Ukraine 
in Europe, and the Caucasus, and a gteat part of Armenia 
in Asia. France has possessed itself of Algiers and Tunis. 
England has secured the suzerainty and practical possession 
of Egypt and complete possession of Cyprus and Aden. 
Italy has seized Tripoli. Of the six smaller independent 
States, Bulgaria and Roumania owe their revival solely to 
Russia, Greece mainly to Great Britain and France, 
Albania to the concert of the Balkan States in 19 12, and 
Serbia and Montenegro alone owe their freedom mainly 
to their oWn valour. It need not be said that gratitfude 
forms no part of the ethics of modern statecraft, and a few 
only of the above States have recog'nized that they owe any- 
thing to the Powers who rescued them from Turkish rule. 

During the last three hundred years, when these vast 
changes were being effected, the Ottoman army lost all the 
prestige it had acquired during the previous three hundred 
years. With the single exception of the battle of Cerestes, 
fought against the Hungarians in 1646, when j^ debacle 


of the Turkish army was averted by, the splendid cavalry 
charge of Ciceila Pasha, which saved to the Ottoman 
Empire the larger part of Hungary for another term of 
seventy -two years, its armies were defeated in almost every 
battle of any importance. In nearly all of them the Otto- 
mans had the advantage of very superior numbers, but this 
did not save them from disaster. The armies opposed to 
them w'ere led by a succession of generals who were masters 
of the art of war, such as Sobieski, King of Poland, Prince 
Eugene of Savoy, Prince Charles of Lorraine, Generals 
Munnich, Loudon, Kutusoff, Suwarrow, Diebitsch, Paskie- 
vitch, Skobeleff, and Gourki. Compared with these, the 
Turks had not a single general of eminence and only a 
few valiant leaders in battle. 

To what causes, then, are we to attribute the decay and 
dismemberment of the vast Empire, and the complete 
failure of its armies to maintain prestige for victory and 
valour? It is more easy perhaps to suggest causes for 
downfall than for the birth and growth of the Empire. 
First and foremost of the causes has unquestionably been 
the degeneracy of the Othman dynasty. It could not have 
been by a mere chance coincidence that the growth of 
Empire was synchronous with the reign of the first ten 
Sultans, and that its decay and dismemberment were ex- 
tended through the reign of twenty -five successors, of whom 
aU but two, or possibly three, were degenerates and wholly 
incompetent to rule. The Ottoman State was an autocracy 
in which all military, civil, and religious faculties were 
tentred in its head. It needed autocrats competent for 
the task, and in the absence of such it was certain that 
the State would take the road to ruin. Whether the 
degeneracy of the dynasty was due, as has been hinted, 
to a break in the true succession, and the introduction of 
alien blood after Solyman the Magnificent, or not, the 
fact remains that we can discern no trace of the eminent 
qualities of the family in those who succeeded him. 

The deterioration of the race, which began with Selim 
' the Sot,' was confirmed and accentuated by what occurred 
after three more Sultans had succeeded father to son— 
aU of them equally unfit to fill the throne. The original 
law of succession, which had been set aside by the cruel 
practice of fratricide, was then reverted to, and the 
eldest maje of the family, and not the eldest son of a 


defunct Sultan, was recognized as his successor. Thence- 
forth, by way of precaution against conspiracy and rebellion, 
the reigning Sultans, in lieu of putting their brothers to 
death, immured them as virtual prisoners in the building 
of the Seraglio known as the Cage, where they were allowed 
little or no communication with the world. They were per- 
mitted to maintain their harems, but by some abominable 
process the women were sterilized so as to prevent their 
giving birth to possible claimants to the throne. Of twenty 
successors to Mahomet IV, seventeen w'ere subjected to this 
degrading treatment, and only left prison on succeeding to 
the throne. Three Sultans escaped this treatment, two of 
them by succeeding their fathers, in default of other male 
heirs of an older age. Only one of these three was better 
equipped to fill the throne than the average of the other 
seventeen. It is evident, therefore, that the dynasty was 
worn out. It would have been well for the Empire if the 
Othman race had long ago come to an end, and had been 
replaced by some more virile and competent stock. 

It followed, from the degeneracy of this long succession 
of Sultans, that the supreme power of the State fell into 
other hands, either of viziers who were able to dominate 
the reigning Sultans and to secure themselves against 
intrigues of all kinds, or more often of the harem. It 
would be difficult to exaggerate the evils which resulted 
from the intervention of the Sultan's harem in affairs of 
State. The harem consisted of a vast concourse of women 
and slaves, of concubines and eunuchs, maintained at a 
huge expense — a nest of extravagance and corruption. It 
was always in antagonism to the official administration of 
the Porte, which ostensibly carried on the administration 
of the State under the direction of the Sultan. The 
favourite concubine for the time being, or the ambitious 
mother of a Sultan, or not infrequently the principal eunuch, 
gained the ear of the Sultan and overruled the more ex- 
perienced advisers of the Porte. The harem was the centre 
from which corruption spread throughout the Turkish 
Empire, as officials of every degree, from the highest to the 
lowest, found it expedient to secure their interest with 
its inmates by heavy bribes. It has been js1iom:ii in previous 
pages that the sale of offices, civil and military, became 
universal. This was largely responsible for the decay and 
dismemberment of the State. An illustration of this wa? 


to be found in the cases of Egypt, Algiers, and Tunis. 
The incompetent pashas, who had obtained by purchase the 
governorships of these important provinces, were unable 
to control the local Mamelukes in Egypt, or the local 
Janissaries in Algiers and Tunis, with the result that these 
provinces became practically independent and later were 
lost to the Empire. 

A second main cause of the decadence of the Empire 
was undoubtedly the deterioration of its armies. We miss 
altogether in the many great battles of the last three 
hundred years the ^lan and the daring spirit by which the 
Ottomans won their many victories in the period of accre- 
tion of the Empire. Two main explanations may be offered 
for this. The one that the armies in the later period 
were formed more exclusively from the Turkish and Arabic 
subjects of the Empire, and that the proportion of men 
of Greek or Slav descent was far less, if it was not wholly 
absent. When the Empire was extended over the whole of 
Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and Syria, the Moslem population 
was enormously increased. In 1648 the corps of Janis- 
saries ceased to be levied from Christian youths and was 
recruited from Moslems. There was wanting, therefore, 
to the army the spirit given to it in the past by the Greeks 
and other Christian races. This difference was probably 
more serious in the case of the officers than with the rank 
and file. The Turks supplied very poor material for 
officers . 

The other explanation is to be found in the absence of 
incentive to military ardour in the later period. If we 
have been justified in the conclusion that there was little 
or no motive for the Turkish army in the shape of religious 
fanaticism and the desire to spread Islam, but that plunder 
and the hope of acquiring lands for distribution among 
the soldiers was its main inducement, it followed that this 
incentive to victory and valour was almost entirely absent 
in the later period when the Empire was on the defensive, 
when it was no longer a question of tnaking fresh conquests, 
but of retaining what had already been won. The army 
could not expect to get loot and plimder or captives for 
sale as slaves, or land to be confiscated for fiefs, 
when engaged in. war for the defence of some tributary or 
vassal State or of some rnore integral part of the Empire. 
I^pr could there be the feeling of fighting for their Qwi) 


homes and property when defending a subject Christian 
province. Yet another partial explanation is to be found 
in the fact that the general corruption had infected the 
army, as well as the civil administration of the State. 
Promotions through all the ranks w'ent not to merit, but 
to the highest bidders. The civil branches of the army 
also, such as the commissariat and those for the supply of 
munitions, which in the earlier period were well provided 
for, fell into disorder and confusion owing to the universal 
spread of corruption. 

In view of these many serious change^, it is not difficult to 
appreciate the causes for the failing off of the moral of I 
the Ottoman army and for its failure to maintain the reputa- 
tion it had achieved in the three centuries of conquest and 
extension of the Empire. The war which is now raging 
in the Near East has shown that the Ottoman soldiers, 
when organized, and in part led, by competent foreign 
officers, when fighting pro arts et focis, and especially 
when in defence of well fortified lines, have a great military 
value . 

A third cause, however, for the failure of the Ottomans 
to maintain their Empire in Europe is undoubtedly to be 
found in the continually worsening conditions of the 
Christian populations subject to it. In the eaxlier period 
there is good reason to conclude that the average jcon- 
dition of the rayas in the Christian provinces subjected 
to Ottoman rule and law was somew*hat better than that 
of the peasants in some neighbouring States, such as 
Hungary, Austria, and Russia. There was something in 
the way of fixity of (tenure accorded to the rayas \vhich 
was absent from the feudal serfs. 

It was alleged that peasants from Httngary not infre- 
quently migrated into the Balkan States in order to enjoy this 
better treatment, and it is certain that the Greeks of the 
Morea and Crete preferred the rule of the Ottomans, bad 
as it was, to that of the Venetians, who wtere even more cruel 
and rapacious. However that may have been, it is certain 
that everywhere under Turkish rule, during^ the last three 
hundred years, the conditions of the Christian populations 
became more wretched and intolerable, and relatively far 
worse than in neighbouring States. This was greatly due 
to th^ degeneracy and corruption of the central Govern- 
ment at Constantinople, and' to its evil ex^5^j)le and influ- 


ence throughout the Empire. Governors of provinces and 
all local officials became more corrupt and rapacious. There 
was no security for life or property. Justice was not -obtain- 
able in the local tribunals. Arbitrary exactions were levied 
on the peasantry. Brigandage eveirywhere increased. 
Money levied in the provinces was never expended for the 
benefit of their populations. Turkish rule acted as a 
blight on the districts subject to it. Provinces liberated 
from it improved in condition beyond recognition. The 
comparison with them was an ever present object-lesson 
to those who remained under Turkish rule. The efforts 
of the combined Powers of Europe to induce or compel 
the Porte to effect improvements in the government of 
its subjects proved to be futile and impotent. Treaty 
obligations with this object were habitually disregarded 
by the Porte and were treated as waste -paper. Provinces 
thus conditioned were always on the brink of rebellion. 
They were kept in subjection, not by the maintenance of 
any large armed forces there, but by periodic massacres 
of a ruthless character. These were not the product of 
religious fanaticism, as has often been suggested, but of 
deliberate policy, and were instigated by orders direct from 
the Porte, with the hope of inspiring terror in the minds of 
the subject races. 

Foreign intervention, incited not so much by territorial 
ambition as by popular sympathy for the oppressed, was 
resorted to for the purpose of redressing grievous wrongs 
and for preserving the peace of Europe. As a result of 
these causes, extending over more than three hundred years, 
the Turkish Empire, so far as Europe is concerned, and 
in the sense of a dominant Powder over subject races, has 
ceased to exist. In countries which it held in subjection 
for over five hundred years it has left no trace that it 
ever existed. The very few Turks and the Tartars and 
Circassians who had been planted there by the Porte when 
the Crimea and the Caucasus were subjected by Russia 
have departed bag and baggage from Europe. They have 
migrated to Asia Minor at the instig'ation of their moUahs. 
The few Moslems who remain behind in these districts are 
not of Ottoman or Turkish descent ; they are of the same 
races as their neighbours. Their ancestors adopted Islam 
to save their property. 

The Youn^ Turks, who pf late years have coptrpHed tlie 


Empire, have signally failed to arrest tbe great movement 
which we have above described. They have further 
developed their policy of Turkifying what remains to them 
of the Empire during the existing war. Their massacres 
and deportations of Armenians in Asia Minor have been on 
a scale and with a cruelty without precedent in history. 
Whether responsibility for this indelible crime will be en- 
forced on them, and whether, as it richly deserves, the 
Turkish Empire wiU suffer further reductions, will depend 
on the issue of the colossal struggle in which the nations 
of Europe are now engaged. Whatever the future may 
have in store in these respects, there is one certain moral 
to be drawn from the story which has been told in these 
pages, namely that an Empire originally founded on the 
predatory instincts of an alien military caste, and whose 
rulers during the last four hundred years have never recog- 
nized that they had any responsibility for the good govern- 
ment and well-being of the races subject to them, could not, 
if there be any law of human progress in the world, be 
permanent, and was destined ultimately to perish by the 








































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Abdul Aziz, 312-16 

Abdul Hamid I, 223-7 

Abdul Hamid II, 316-52 

Abdul Mehjid, 287-312 

Abercromby, General, 244 

Aboukir Bay, 242, 244 

Acarnania, 280 

Achmet I, 152 

Achmet II, 185-6 

Achmet III, 191-203 

Acre, 239, 243, 255-6, 281, 290 

Adalia, 38, 46 

Aden, 117, 130,374 

Adrianople, 33-4, 46, 52-3, 58, 60- 
1,68, 74-6, 79, 88, 92, 113, 176, 
1 8 1-2, 184, 186, 188-9, 276, 280, 
285> 329^ 362-3, 367 

Ahmed Keduk, 98, 102 

Aidin, 45, 62 

Aidos, 276 

Akinjis (irregulars), 47 

Ak-Shai, 46-7 

Ak-Sheir, 38 

Albania, Albanians, 37, 39, 61, 71, 
90-5, 144, 168, 180, 184, 189, 192, 
211, 215, 224, 252, 257-8, 264, 

330, 348, 353> 359, 364. 368, 374 
Aleppo, 109-10, 123, 282 
Alexander of Battenberg, Prince 

of Bulgaria, 337-8 
Alexandria, 240-1, 244, 250, 264, 

271, 284 
Algiers, 117, 124-5, 130, 158, 160, 

164-5, 201, 224, 370 
Andrassy, 318, 331 
Andria Dorea, 126-7 
Andronicus III, 21, 26, 61 

Angora, 45, 369 

Apafy, 172, 181 

Arabi, 345 

Arabia, 117, 145, 259, 265 

Arabs, no, 124, 138, 164, 255 

Ardahan, 328, 330, 333 

Argos, 52 

Armenia, 48, 55, 117, 329, 332, 336 

339, 340-1, 380 
Astrakan, 138 
Athens, 95, 181, 264, 343 
Austria, 117, 120-3, 128, 155, 157- 

8, 166, 171-2, 175, 186, 198-200, 

202, 225-6, 247, 327, 339 
Azof, 138, 163, 189, 192, 194-6, 

207, 210, 220 

Babatagh, 236 
Baffo, Sultana, 15 1-5 
Bagdad, 56, 117, 123, 160-1, 255-6 
Bairactar, 252 
Baku, 203 

Balaklava, Battle of, 304 
Balkans, 25, 28, 33-4, 37, 68-9, 
184, 218, 271-3, 276, 326, 330 

335, 342-3, 358, 365 
Balta Oghli, 79 
Baltadji, 194-6 
Baphaeon, Battle of, 16 
Barbarossa, 125-6, 130 
Barbary States, 160, 164-6 
Bashi-bazouks, 319 
Bashir, the eunuch, 205, 211 
Bassorah, 117 
Batak, 319, 320, 342 
Batoum, 330 
Bayezid I, 38, 40, 44-59 
25 385 



Bayezid II, 98-103 

Bayezid, Fortress of, 330, 332 

Beaconsfield, Lord, 321-4, 330, 

332-3, 337 
Beglerbey of Anatolia, 69 
Belgrade, 72, 90, 92, 117, 119, 127, 

171-2, 178, 183, 185, 187-8, 198, 

200, 229, 254, 259, 278 
Berbers, 141 
Berlin, 189, 342, 354, 356 
Berlin Congress, 331-9 
Besika Bay, 329 
Bessarabia, 213, 220, 225, 231, 236, 

306, 330, 374 
Beyrout, 290 

Bismarck, 331-2, 340, 346 
Blake, Admiral, 165 
Bonaparte, General, 238-44, 248, 

253-4» 257, 292 
Bosnia, 33, 37, 39, 41, 43, 53, 67, 

71-2, 90-3, 180, 184, 188, 201, 

208-9, 228, 252, 310, 318, 320, 

332-3, 339, 353, 368 
Boucicaut, 52 
Bourgas, 276 
Bragadino, 140 
Brusa, 14-15, 18-19, 21-2, 33-5, 

51, 58, 60, 63, 104, 282 
Bucharest, 218, 220, 238-54, 259, 

271, 366 
Bucsacs, Treaty of, 174-5 
Buda, 49, 52, 68, 119, 120, 180 
Bulair, 363 
Bulgaria, Bulgarians, 25, 28, 32, 

36-9, 41-4, 47, 53, 69, 155, 157, 

185, 231, 253, 272, 276, 296, 310, 

315, 319, 327. 329, 330, 333-4, 

337-8, 342-3, 357, 363, 368 
Bulgarian Atrocities, 320-3 
Burke, Edmund, 235 
Byron, Lord, 263 
Byzantium, Byzantines, 21, 22, 24, 

28-9, 30, 32-3, 36, 41, 43, 45, 52, 

82, 89, 94, 225, 369 

Caesarea, 56 

Cage, the, see Seraglio 

Cairo, 111-12, 241-4, 251, 258 

Calabria, 96, 140 

Calafat, 326 

Calderan, Battle of, 108 

Caliph, 112, 182 

Candia, 96, 167, 170, 173, 296 ; se^ 
also Crete 

Canea, 164 

Canning, Mr., 267, 270 

Canning, Sir Stratford, see Strat- 
ford de Redcliffe 

Cantacuzene, 26-9 

Carlowitz, Treaty of, 189, 190, 192, 
196-7, 221 

Castriota, 71 

Caucasus, 220, 241, 272, 306, 342 

Cephalonia, 90 

Cerestes, Battle of,i55, 157, 172,374 

Chamber of Turkish Deputies, 348 

Chatham, Lord, 232 

Chios, 47, 79 

Choczim, 175 

Cicala Pasha, 155-7, 375 

Circassia, 109, 303, 306, 333, 339, 

340, 342, 379 
Citale, 302 
Coburg, 228 

Codrington, Admiral, 269 
Committee of Union and Pro- 
gress, 347, 349 
Comnenus, 90 
Constantine, Emperor, 75, 77-8, 

80, 82, 84, 94 
Constantine, King of Greece, 359 
Constantinople (attacked), 25, 46, 
52-3, 61, 65 ; capture of, 78-89 
Corfu, 126, 197-8, 201 
Corinth, 70, 189, 196-7, 264 
Corsairs, 124-6, 139, 159, 164-5, 

231, 373 

Cossacks, 163, 174 

Court of Confiscations, 266 

Cracow, 177 

Crete, 118, 140, 145, 163-4, 166, 
173, 175, 240, 264, 280-1, 283, 
330, 336, 338, 354, 359, 368, 378 

Crimea, 90-1, 1 17, 138, 163, 171, 174, 
184, 192-6, 207-8, 210, 212, 217, 
223, 225, 227, 232, 304-5, 342, 374 



Crimean War, 288-310 
Croatia, 180, 229, 248, 374 
Crusades, 25, 32, 34, 45, 48-9, 

90-1, 163 
Cyprus, i39-4i» i44-5» 262, 298, 

333-4> 368, 374 

Dahis, of Bosnia, 246-7 
Dalmatia, 144, 181, 201, 248, 374 
Damad Pasha, 196-8, 201' 
Damascus, 55, 169, 264, 281-3 
Danube, 32, 39, 41, 49, 52, 66-9, 

76, 80, 92, 98, 117, 119, 121, 155, 

I57> i7i» 176-7* i79» 181, 184-5, 

193; 235-^ 
Dardanelles, 33-50, 52, 64, 92, 163, 

166, 208, 215, 242, 249-50, 273, 

283, 289, 304, 329, 354 
Demetrius, Despot of Greece, 94 
Demotika, 29, 34, 36 
Derby, Lord, 322-6 
Dervishes, 62, 65 
Deys, 165-6 
Diarbekir, 103, 108 
Diebitsch, Marshal, 275-8, 375 
Divan, the, 147, 186, 191, 198, 

213, 218, 225, 236, 245-6, 251, 

265, 288 
Djem, Prince, 99, 100, 115 
Dobrudscha, 327, 330, 366-7 
Don, River, 138 
Doris, 52 

Dragut, 126-7, 130 
Druma, River, 37 
Duckworth, Admiral, 249-51 
Dulcigno, 335 
Dundar, 13, 17, 18 
Durazzo, 361 

Earthquake at Gallipoli, 28 
Egypt, 98, 100, 102-3, io9-i3» i39» 

164, 216, 239, 244-5, 256-8, 265, 

269, 281, 283-4, 288-9, 291, 296, 

345> 347» 368, 374 
Elphinstone, 214-15 
England, 158, 229, 231, 248, 279 ; 

see also Great Britain 
Enos, 277 

Enver Bey, 363, 366-7 

Ephesus, 57 

Epirus, 255, 330, 332, 336, 338, 

344» 363, 368 
Erivan, 160-1, 203 
Erlau, 183 

Ertoghrul, 13, 14, 15, 17, 55 
Erzeroum, 13, 276, 278, 328, 332, 

Eski Baba, 33, 369 
Eski-Sheir, 15 
Eugene, Prince, 183, 187-8, 192, 

198, 201, 375 
European conquests, 25-6, 28-9, 

Evizzo, Paul, 93 
Evrenos, 33, 37, 52 

Ferdinand, Archduke, 119, 120 
Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg, 338, 

Fox, Charles James, 232-5 
France, 238, 248-9, 257, 268, 271 

279, 282, 284, 290, 294, 345 

Galata, 32 

Gallipoli, 28, 51, 64, 74, 123 

Gaza, 110, 112, 243, 281 

Genoa, 25, 32, 67-8, 75, 77, 79, 84, 

86, 90, 92 
George Brancowitch, 67 
George, Prince, of Greece, 339 
Georgia, 145, 203, 213, 217, 220, 241 
Germany, 90, 121, 166, 284, 320, 

339» 346, 350, 354, 367 
Ghazali, iii 
Ghengis Khan, 54 
Ghowrem, Sultana, 1 15-16, 134 
Ghowri, 109-11 
Gladstone, 310, 314, 320-2, 326, 

330> 334-5» 340> 345 
Goltz, von der. General, 338, 368 
Gran, 179, 180 
Great Britain, 232-3, 267, 333, 345, 

Great Powers, the, 288-9, 29^1 30i» 

307, 313, 323, 325, 334' 358, 362, 

3^f 374 



Greece, Greek affairs, 230, 237, 
239, 255, 257, 259, 260, 262-4, 
266, 268, 271-2, 279, 292, 
333, 335, 338, 342, 356, 360, 

Greek Church, 35, 89, 248-9, 267, 

299, 314-15 

Hafiz, 137 

Hamid Emirate, 38, 144 

Hassan, 156 

Hatti-Humayun, 306-7, 310 

Hatti-Scheriff of Ghulkane, 293 

Herzegovina, 100, 102, 310, 318, 

327, 332-3, 339, 354 

Hetairia, 261 

Hirsova, 219, 327 

HohenzoUern, 49, 313 

Holland, 201, 229, 231 

Hungary, Hungarian affairs, 33-4, 
39, 41, 44-6, 48-9, 50-2, 66-9, 
71, 74-5, 78, 90-1, 98, 100, 116- 
17, 119, 120-2, 128-9, 155, 176, 
180-1, 187, 189, 192, 201, 211, 

375, 378 
Hunyadi, 47, 66-71, 74, 76, 91 

Ibrahim, King of Karamania, 93 
Ibrahim, Grand Vizier, 116, 119, 

120, 123, 132, 134-5 
Ibrahim, Sultan, 153, 162-3, 166 
Ibrahim Pasha, 264-5, 269, 270-1, 

281, 284-5, 291 
Ibrail, 273 
Iconium, 13 
Idebali, 15, 17 
Idris, 109 
Ilbeki, 34 
Indian troops, 321 
Inkerman, Battle of, 304 
Ionian Islands, 197, 238 
Irene, Empress, 29 
Islamism, 14, 16, 17, 22, 24, 64, 67, 

89, 146, 171, 243, 266, 340, 348, 

353, 372, 377 
, Ismail, 107-8, 123, 231 
Jaffa, 243 
Janina, 239, 255-6, 336, 362-3 

Janissaries, 23, 41-3, 55, 60-1, 70, 
74,76,84-5,98, 101-4, ^08, 114, 
1 17-18, 131, 146, 152, 154, 159, 
165, 178, 183, 187-8, 191, 204, 229, 
238, 245-6, 251-2, 256, 265, 377 
Jassy, 209, 217, 249 
J assy. Treaty, 223-37 
Jerusalem, 221, 281, 294, 298 
John Palaeologus, 26-7, 29, 32, 34- 
6, 45, 66 

Kainardji, Treaty of, 189, 211 

Kaminiec, 174 

Karamania, 14-16, 38-9, 46-8, 58, 

62, 65, 67-8, 71, 90, 93-4 
Kara George, 247-8, 259 
Karasi, 22 
Karnabet, 276 

Kars, 274, 278, 304, 310, 326, 333 
Kavalla, 37 
Kermia, 38, 62, 65 
Khadidje, Sultana, 204 
Khair Bey, 11 1 
Khahl Pasha, 200, 217 
Kherson, 225 

Khocsim, 209, 213-14, 217 
Khorassan, 13, 15 
Khorkand, 104 
Khurdistan, 103, 108 
Kilburn, 217, 220, 225-7 
Kilia, 277 

Kirk Kilisse, 33, 361, 366-7 
Kir Sheir, 56 
Knights of St. John, 45, 49, 50-2, 

57,99, 1 17-18, 127,240 
Komorn, 171 

Konia, 13-15, 48, 93, 109, 282 
Kosciuszko, 236 
Kossova, 39, 44, 71, 369 
Kostlidji, 219 
Kotchana, 357 
Kotchi Bey, 132 
Koumanovo, Battle of, 361 
Krotzka, 209 
Kuban, 236 

Kulewtska, Battle of, 275 
Kurds, 333, 339, 340 
Kutayia, 38 



Lalashalin, 33-4, 37 

Larissa, 52, 196 

Latin Church, 32-3, 35, 67, 69, 77 

Latin Empire, 25 

Lazar, King of Serbia, 37, 39, 40 

Lemberg, 175 

Lemnos, 90, 166, 170, 216 

Leopold, Prince, 280 

Lepanto, Battle of, loi, 142, 370 

Lesbos, 90 

Little Armenia, 14 

Locris, 52 

Lorraine, Prince Charles of, 172, 

179, 180, 187., 375 
Louis (of Bacen) Prince, 183, 185 

Macedonia, 43, 53, 157, 185, 330, 

333, 336, 342> 344> 353, 357, 361, 

367, 368, 377 
Magnesia, 68, 70, 74 
Magyars, 201-2 
Mahmoud I, 203-11 
Mahmoud II, 252-287 
Mahomet I, 59-64 
Mahomet II, 73-98 
Mahomet III, 151-2 
Mahomet IV, 166-83 
Mahomet V, 352 
Maksyu, 236 
Malta, 118, 127, 164, 173, 180, 184, 

240, 331 
Mamelukes, 100, 102-3, 109, iii, 

113, 216, 225, 239, 241, 243, 245, 

250, 258 
Mansel, Admiral, 165 
Manuel, 35-6, 45-6, 52-3, 61, 64, 

Maritza, Battle of, 369 
Matthew, Emperor, 29 
Mecca, 109, 112, 256 
Medina, 109, 112, 256 
Mehemet AH, 257, 259, 264, 266, 

281-91, 331, 345 
Mendia, 226 
Mentshe, 14, 45 
Mesopotamia, 56, 125, 343 
Michael Palaeologus, 16 
Midhat Pasha, 324-5 

Military service, 23-4, 41, 47 

Milosch Kabilowitch, 39, 40 

Milosch Obrenowitch, 259 

Mingrelia, 217, 220 

Missolonghi, 264 

Mohacz, 119, 157, 172, 180, 369 

Moldavia, 155, 175, 193, 206-9, 
210, 213, 217, 220-1, 226, 228, 
236, 249, 253, 255, 266, 271-2, 
278, 281, 300, 306 

Moltke, 274, 278, 284 

Monastir, 37, 300, 361 

Mongols, 13, 369 

Montenegro, 196, 212, 320, 328, 

330, 332, 335, 359, 362, 365, 367 
Moors, loi, 125, 164 
Moravia, 171 
Morea, 181, 189, 192, 196-7, 201, 

212, 214, 218, 256, 259, 261-3, 

269, 271, 279, 378 
Morocco, 127 

Morosini, 173, 181, 184, 196 
Mosques, 97, 109, 340 
Mossul, 117, 123 

Mouhsinzade, 213-15, 218-19, 221 
Muley-Hasan, 125, 140 
Murad I, 31-44 
Murad II, 64-73 
Murad III, 145-51 
Murad IV, 153 
Murad V, 316 
Musa, 60, 61 
Mustapha, 65 
Mustapha I, 152 
Mustapha II, 186-91 
Mustapha III, 211-23 
Mustapha IV, 251-2 

Napier, Admiral, 290 

Naples, 242 

National Assembly, 349, 350 

Navarino, loi, 197, 262, 264, 269, 

270-2, 281 
Nazib, Battle of, 284, 288 
Negropont, 47 
Nelson, Admiral, 240, 242 
Neuhausel, 171-2, 175, 180 
Nevers, Count de, 48, 51 



Nicea, 14, 21, 22, 25 

Nicomedia, 14, 21, 22 

Nicopolis, 39, 45, 47, 49, 51-3, 327, 

Nicosia, 139 
Nicotika, 26 

Nisch, 37, 67, 185, 248, 328 
Novi-Bazar, 354 
Nubia, 117 

Oczakoff, 220, 225, 227, 232-4, 

Odessa, 261 
Oitenitza, 302 
Omar Pasha, 291, 302, 304 
Oran, 117, 124, 127, 130, 146 
Orchan, 18, 20-31 
Orlof, Prince, 214, 216, 224 
Orsova, 230, 278 
Osmanlis, 17, 51 
Otiiman I, 13-20 
Othman II, 152 
Othman III, 211 
Otho, King, 280 
Otranto, 90-1, 98 
Ouloudj, 139, 141-2, 144-5 

Padishah, loi, 155-6, 163, 182, 

Paget, Lord, 188-9 
Palmerston, Lord, 282, 289, 290-1, 

Passaro witch. Treaty of, 189-202 
Patriarch, Greek, 29, 83, 88, 262, 

Pears, Sir.E., 319 

Pelecanon, Battle of, 21 

Persia, 103, 105-9, ^^S-^7> 123, 

126, 129, 145, 158, 160-1, 192, 

196, 203 
Peterwardein, 52, 185, 201, 209 
Pfam, 155-6 

Phalerum, Battle of, 264 
Pharsalia, Battle of, 52 
Philippopolis, 37, 181, 342 
Piale Pasha, 130, 139 
Pitt, William, 232-5 
Plevna, 327-8 

Podolia, 174-5, 189, 374 

Poland, 67, 78, 120, 171, 174-6, 

184, 189, 194, 212, 217-18, 220, 

230, 233, 272 
Poros, 264 
Portugal, 127 

Potemkin, Prince, 231, 236 
Presburg, 120 
Prussia, 212, 217, 229, 231-4, 284, 

288, 313 

Raab, 172-3, 178 

Raghab Pasha, 212 

Ragusa, 31, 201 

Retino, 164 

Rhodes, 57, 90-1, 96, 98, 1 12-13, 

117, 242, 244 
Ridania, 1 1 1 
Roe, Sir Thomas, 158 
Roostem, Grand Vizier, 132-3, 153 
Roumania, 313, 326, 328, 364-7, 

Roumelia, 131, 133, 331 
RoumeHa, East, 331-2, 337 
Roxelana, see Ghowrem 
Russia, 102, 131, 138, 174-6, 184, 

188-9, i92-3> 203, 206, 212, 214, 

220, 226, 231, 248, 253, 268, 271- 

7> 294. 313^ 326, 366 
Rustchuk, 218, 252, 254 

Salankemen, Battle of, 185 
Salonika, 66, 71-2, 260, 262, 320, 

347. 349. 352, 360, 365 
Samakof , Battle of, 37, 369 
Samarcand, 54, 58 
San Stefano, 329, 330-3 
Saoudji, 35-6 

Sarandoporus, Battle of, 360 
Sarukhan, 14, 16, 22, 45 
Scanderbeg, 71, 92, 95 
Schiis, 105, 109 
Schumla, 39, 218-19, 254, 272-3, 

Scios, 231, 260 
Seaddedin, 86, 156-7 
Sebastopol, 282, 304-5 
Selim I, 103-14 



Sehm II, 130-45 
Selim III, 227-51 
Seljukian Turks, 13, 14, 16 
Seniendria, 185, 201, 208, 229 
Seraglio, 152, 155, 161, 182, 185, 
191, 205, 212, 219, 251, 316, 376 
Serbia, 25-8, 32-3, 37-9, 41, 43-5, 
49» 50; 53> 57, 61, 67-9, 71, 74, 
9c, 184, 192, 200, 208, 228, 239, 
246-8, 255, 259, 260, 266, 271-2, 
278, 281, 296, 313, 320, 330, 333, 

337, 342, 364-5 
Serinvar, 172, 175 
Serres, 37 

Seymour, Sir Hamilton, 294-7 
Sheik ul Islam, 348-9 
Shipka Pass, 327-8 
Siawousch, Pasha, 181, 183 
" Sick man of Europe,' 295-6 
Sigismund, King, 46-9, 50, 66 
Silistria, 39, 47, 218-19, 254, 273, 

275, 303. 305, 367 
Silvatorok, Treaty of, 158, 172 
Sinope, Battle of, 303 
Sistova, 49, 247, 254 
Sivas, 48, 55, 57 
Slatino, 226 
Slavery, 24, 47, 66, 100, 109, 139 

241, 265, 373 
Slavonia, 181, 189 
Slavs, 16, 17, 201, 263, 314, 320, 

Slivno, 276 

Smith, Admiral Sir Sidney, 243 
Smyrna, 45, 57, 62 
Sobieski, 174-9, 375 
Sofia, 37, 185, 328, 337, 342 
Solyman I, 114-36 
Solyman II, 183-5 
Solyman, Shah, 13 
Solyman, Prince, 25-7, 29 
Sophia, St., 77, 82, 86-7, 182 
Soudan, 146, 259, 298 
Spahis, 131, 138, 154, 162-3, 166, 

246, 248 
Spain, 117, 124, 126-7, 140-1 
Stephen Dushan, King of Serbia, 


Stephen (of Serbia), 44, 50, 56, 67 

Stopford, Admiral, 290 

Stratford de Redcliffe, Lord, 282, 

287, 292-3, 298, 300, 307-9, 310 
Strumnitza, 366 
Styria, 52, 122, 171 
Suez, 127, 138, 240, 243, 323 
Sugut, 15 

Sultan (title), 21, 31 
Sultan (accession murders), 40, 65, 

96, 104, 152 
Sultana Valide, 151, 153, 157, 160-3, 

166, 169, 182, 205 
Sunnites, 105 

Suwarrow, 219, 226-8, 231, 375 
Sweden, 192, 194, 230, 234 
Syria, 100, 103, 109, 111-13, 242, 

264, 281, 283-4, 288-9, 343, 377 
Syrmia, 46, 52, 260, 262 
Szegeddin, 68 
Szigeth, 128 

Tabriz, 106, 108, 123, 138, 203 
Tahmasp, Shah, 115, 123, 204, 206 
Tartars, 54-9, 138, 163, 174, 176, 
178, 184, 217, 220, 223, 342, 379 
Tchatalja, lines of, 362, 364 
Tchorlu, 29, 33 
Tekke, Emirate of, 38, 46 
Temesvar, 184, 187-8, 194, 226 
Teutonic Knights, 49, 67 
Theodora, 26-7 
Theodore Palaeologus, 52 
Theodosius, 78 
Thermopylas, 52 
Thessaly, 278, 280, 330, 332, 336, 

Thomas, Despot in Greece, 94 
Thrace, 369, 370 
Timurlane, 53-9, 62, 76 
Tirnova, 39, 47, 182, 327 
Torchan, Sultana, 167, 169 
Tourman Bey, iii 
Transylvania, 119, 155, 158, 172, 

181, 185-6, 189 
Trebizond, 14, 89, 90, 106, 276 
Tripoli, 117, 124, 127, 130, 169, 
I 201, 281, 283, 354, 356, 359 



Tripolitza, 261-2 
Tughra, 31 

Tunis, 121, 124, 126, 144-S, 158, 
160, 164-5, 201, 347, 354, 370, 

Turk (the name), 17 
Tzympe, 26-8 

Ukraine, 174, 176, 272, 374 

Ulemas, 162, 182, 265 

Unkiar Skelessi, Treaty of, 283 

Vacouf lands, 266 

Valtetsi, 261 

Varna, 69, 218-19, 271-3, 304, 369 

Vascar, 172 

Venezelos, M., 357 

Venice, Venetians, 25, 35, 50, 62, 
66-8, 71, 75, 78, 90-1, 93» 95, 98, 
loi, 124, 126-7, i4i-'2, 164, 170, 
173, I80-I, 184, 189, 192, 196-7, 

201, 238, 378 

Vienna, 91, 116, 120-3, ^26, 176-9, 

Viziers, 17, 20, $8, 60, 73, 75, 92, 

103, 115-16, 119, 133, 136, 147, 

166, 168-91, 205, 253 

Voivode, 95, 119, iSx 
Volga, 138 

Wallachia, 33, 39, 46-7, 
52-3> 59> 61, 67, 69, 72, 7 
95-6, 155, 175, 192, 20a 

209, 217, 220-1, 236, 2t 
255, 266, 271-2, 278, 281, 

Warardin, 184 
Warsaw, 177 

Wartersleben, General, 22^ 
Warzen, 180 
White, Sir W., 337 
Widdin, 47, 49, 183, 185, 2 

247» 255-6 
Wlad, 95-6 
Wolff, Sir Henry Drumm( 

Yemen, 117, 127, 130, 138, 
Young Turks, 349, 352-69, 

Zante, 189 

Zapolya, Count, 119, 120, : 

Zenta, Battle of, 187-8 

Zriny, 128 

Zurawna, Treaty of, 175, i 

Prinfed in Great Britain by 



DR441.E8 1917 



. for each 

3 9358 00043146 7 


p %IAI\l n 2 11 )90 

Li m ? 


m 19 ' m 

^/ r ^r 

tww *>?! 


Eversleyt George John Shaw-Lef evre t 
baron, 1832-1928. 

The Turkish empire; its growth and 
decay / by Lord Eversiey. With a 
frontispiece and three maps. New York 
Doddy Meadf 1917. 

392 p. : port., 3 fold maps ; 22 cm